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Lot 106: Tony O'Malley HRHA (1913-2003)The Pond (1994)Oil on canvas, 152.5 x 91.5cm (60 x 36'')Signed with initials and dated (19)'94; signed again in Irish, inscribed with title and dated 1994 verso (AR2929)Exhibited: 'Tony O'Malley Exhibition', The Tayl
December 7, 2016
Dublin 2, Dublin, IrelandLive Auction
Description: Tony O'Malley HRHA (1913-2003)The Pond (1994)Oil on canvas, 152.5 x 91.5cm (60 x 36'')Signed with initials and dated (19)'94; signed again in Irish, inscribed with title and dated 1994 verso (AR2929)Exhibited: 'Tony O'Malley Exhibition', The Taylor Galleries, Dublin, April/May 1996, Catalogue No.13.Literature : 'Tony O Malley', edited by Brian Lynch, Scholar Press 1996, full page illustration page 291.Even as a youth, Tony OMalley loved water and rivers. He once described himself as only the man who goes down to the Kings River and make a drawing of the river there thats what I am . I am only this. Its not clear if he ever actually fished the river, but there is no doubting the importance that water and the plant and animal life it supports were an essential ingredient in his work and in his sense of place. The Kings River flowed by the end of the garden of his childhood home. Rivers or the back view of towns seen from the river bank or sea views permeate his work, when he officially earned a living as a bank clerk in various towns around Ireland. He was a frequent visitor to Clare Island in Mayo, his fathers native place, and when he emigrated in the 60s, it was to the coastal town of Saint Ives in Cornwall that he went. After a long life, riddled with illness, and with his mobility greatly reduced, he came back to live in Callan, but not beside the river. To compensate for this his wife Jane created two ponds in their garden. These ponds became the principal backdrop to OMalleys visual musings on life, on movement, on stillness, on reflection, ultimately on beauty and harmony.Ponds are not rivers however. Their very containment reflects the artists own situation. Unable to move around freely and needing a golf buggy to take him from the house to the studio, and indeed from one pond to the other, he invests those small areas of water with the dynamic energy and even the sweeping moods of the river. In this painting the heavy flow of current, diminishing as it nears the edges of the pond may be partly a reference to the rivers of his younger days, but also to the artists own life. Brian Lynch et al, Tony O'Malley, Dublin and Kilkenny, 1996 and later editions, p.44Catherine Marshall November 2016