Important and Distinguished Irish Painter

Tony O’ Malley is an important and distinguished Irish painter of the twentieth century, he was born in Callan, Co. Kilkenny in 1913. O’ Malley is a self-taught painter who also worked as a bank official until he became very ill with tuberculosis in the 1940’s. Whilst convalescing he began to paint and in 1951 he began to exhibit his paintings.

View ‘Summer Painting’ within the Collection

Summer Painting by Tony O' Malley

Summer Painting by Tony O’ Malley

Mood, Atmosphere and Movements of the Irish Countryside

Nature and history are recurrent themes within his works and for over 40 years he captured through abstraction the mood, atmosphere and movements of the Irish countryside and also the landscapes of more exotic islands that he used to frequent. O’ Malley was strongly influenced by the artistic community at St. Ives where he holidayed in 1955 and settled there in 1960. Although these British abstract painters influenced him, he kept his own unique style and vision.

Not so much abstract as essence. I could not paint for the sake of the pigment of whatever, but I like abstract form in the painting which instills it with meaning and power. Abstraction does enable you to get under the surface, to get beyond appearance, and to express the mind. But abstraction for its own sake does not interest me.”- Tony O’ Malley


In 1973 he married Jane Harris and in 1990 they moved back to Ireland where he was elected Saoi of Aosdana. Tony O’ Malley is now recognized as one of the leading Irish painters of his time and in 1999 he was the recipient of the Glen Dimplex Award for Sustained Contribution to the Visual Arts in Ireland. He died in 2003 and in 2005 The Irish Museum of Modern Art hosted a major retrospective of his work.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

  • ’50 Years’, Tony O’ Malley Works on Paper, A Selected Retrospective, Taylor Galleries, 2002
  • ‘Tony O’ Malley, Paintings and Gouaches from the McColland Collection’, Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2001
  • ‘An Irish Vision’, Works by Tony O’ Malley, The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C, Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork, Fenton Gallery Cork, 2000
  • ‘Tony O’ Malley, Paintings and Drawings from the 1950’s and 1960’s, Nordjylands, Kunstmuseum, Denmark, 1999
  • ‘County Wexford in the 1950’s, New Ross Library, New Ross, Co. Wexford, 1998
  • “Good Friday and Easter Paintings’, Sligo Art Gallery, Royal Hibernian Academy, Limerick City Gallery of Art, 1997
  • ‘Tony O’ Malley- Selected Paintings 1993- 1996′, Taylor Galleries, Dublin, 1996
  • ‘Paintings 1950- 1995’, Coram Gallery, London, 1996
  • ‘Tony O’ Malley- A Personal Choice by Vera Ryan’, Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, Cork, 1994
  • ‘Tony O’ Malley at 80- Recent Work’, Taylor Galleries, Dublin, 1992
  • ‘O’Malley- Work from the 60’s’, Butler Gallery, Kilkenny and Limerick City Hall, Touring Sligo, Monaghan, Cork and The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 1992

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • ‘An Irish Eye: Landscapes of Fact and Imagination’, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa, 2004
  • ‘Tony and Jane O’ Malley Prints’, Fenton Gallery, Cork, 2004
  • Irish Art 1770- 1995, History and Society, Crawford Art Gallery, touring United States of AMerica, Selected works from the Irish Museum of Modern Art Collection, Dunlin, 1995
  • Porthmeor Beach; a Century of Images’, Tate Gallery, St. Ives, 1995
  • Kelly’s Hotel, Rosslare Strand, Co. Wexford, 1990-2004
  • Images from Ireland, Brussels, 1990
  • ‘Irish Art- The Human Dimension’, Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery, Dublin, 1990
  • ‘A Sense of Ireland Festival’, Odette Gilbert Gallery, London, 1990
  • Royal Hibernian Academy Banqueting Exhibition, 1990
  • Angela Flowers Gallery, Roscarbery, Co. Cork, 1988
  • ‘ROSC 1988’, Dublin, 1988
  • ‘Four Artists Kilkenny’, Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, 1983
  • ‘Six Artists from Ireland, An Aspect of Irish Painting’, The Arts Council/Department of Foreign Affairs Touring Exhibition in Europe, 1983


  • Waterford Crystal Achievement Award, received posthumously by Jane O’ Malley, 2003
  • Freedom of Kilkenny, 2000
  • Irish Museum of Modern art/Glen Dimplex Award for sustained contribution to the arts, 1999
  • The Tony O’ Malley Travel Award launched by the Butler Gallery, 1997
  • Arriets-Orzola, Lanzarote, 1988, was issued as a 44p Irish Stamp by the Irish Stamp Comittee, 1993


  • Contemporary Irish Arts Society
  • Cornwall Education Committee
  • Allied Irish Banks
  • Arts Council of Ireland
  • Ulster Museum, Belfast
  • Insurance Corporation of Ireland
  • Guinness Peat Aviation
  • Boyle Civic Collection
  • Crawford Municipal Art Gallery
  • Hugh Lane Municipal Art Gallery of Modern Art
  • Irish Museum of Modern Art
  • Office of Public Works
  • The National Self-Portrait Collection
  • Wexford County Council
  • National Gallery of Ireland

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