2018-03-27-2018-12-14 --- 2018-12-14 21:34:32--18
Hover to zoom in

LOT :78
Tony O'Malley HRHA (1913-2003)
Good Friday Painting (1983)
Oil on board, 120 x 39cm (47¼ x 15½'')
Estimate EUR : €15,000.00 - €20,000.00
Auction Date : 27-03-2018


Tony O'Malley HRHA (1913-2003)
Good Friday Painting (1983)
Oil on board, 120 x 39cm (47¼ x 15½'')
Signed with initials, inscribed with title and dated 1983; signed again in Irish (AR 695)

1983 Marked a big turning point in Tony OMalleys recognition as an artist in Ireland. From relative obscurity in the previous decades he found himself featuring in three group exhibitions that year; Kilkenny Castle Gallery, Saint Ivess Artists at the Winchester Gallery in England and, more importantly he was one of the artists in Six Artists from Ireland, a European touring exhibition jointly presented by the Arts Council and the Cultural Relations Committee of the Department of Foreign Affairs. OMalley had been included in an earlier travelling exhibition within Ireland, Miles Apart, in 1981, and was the subject of a film documentary on RTE in 1982, but inclusion in the Six Artists show, and having his work chosen for the cover of the catalogue, confirmed his acceptance as a leading Irish painter. It paved the way for an extraordinary sequence of accolades and successes, which were to culminate in 1993 in the award of Saoi of Aosdana, the highest honour that Irish artists could confer on one of their peers.

OMalley had, by then, a well-established practice of painting a Good Friday painting each year. Although he had no particularly religious feelings about the day, this theme provided one of the threads of continuity that ran through his career from 1961 to 2002. His sense of history and ritual was exceptionally keen and Good Friday was a rich source for both of these. OMalley loved the idea that the mythology surrounding the most significant event in the Christian narrative, was also the day of the death of the legendary, but pagan Irish king, Connchubar Mac Nessa as well as that of the slaughter of Brian Ború as he celebrated his decisive victory over the Danes at the Battle of Clontarf. Separated by approximately 12 monthly intervals, the Good Friday paintings vary widely in wood, colour and iconography, but a regular theme that recurs in many of them, as here, is a reference to the instruments of Christs Passion. In Good Friday 1983, overt references to the historical events are handled discretely. OMalleys work generally leans towards abstraction, but the vertical form and a delicately outlined cruciform shape could be read as a reference to the cross on which Christ died, and line drawings of some of the more familiar symbols of Christs passion, the hammer used to drive the nails connecting the body to the cross and the outline of the cock that crowed when Christ died, prompting Peter to deny his leader. But these symbolic objects, usually designed to evoke suffering and horror are barely visible. More provocatively their emotive power is gently undermined by the presence of a tiny birds head, visible directly underneath the cock on the left

Instead of the weight of history, or religious mourning the mood of the painting is light and warm, more linked to the colours of Paradise Island in the Bahamas, which OMalley visited each year from the mid 1970s with his wife Jane, than to the sombre Good Fridays of his Irish childhood. OMalley visited Paradise Island in 1983. He told his friend Brian Fallon that he had hoped to paint the light there but found it so bright, at first, that it reduced his palette to white. That is reflected in many of his paintings from 1983. It infects Good Friday 1983 with a sense of spring rather than death.

Catherine Marshall, February 2018


  • en
  • fr
  • es
  • it
  • de
  • ru
  • zh-CN
  • el
  • nl


1. Estimates and Reserves

Estimates are shown below each lot in this sale. All amounts shown are in Euro. The figures shown are provided merely as a guide to prospective purchasers. They are approximate prices which are expected, are not definitive and are subject to revision. Reserves, if any, will not be any higher than the lower estimate.

2. Artists Resale Rights (Droit de Suite) is NOT payable by purchasers

3. Paddle Bidding (In Person)

All intending purchasers must register for a paddle number before the auction. Please allow time for registration. We recommend reading "Buying at Adam's" for first time buyers from our web site for more information. Please be aware that photographic identification by way of passport or driving licence will be required for new registrants, together with a secure valid credit card. This is for security purposes only. Potential purchasers are recommended to register on viewing days.

3. Buyer's Premium, Payment & Delivery

Buyers Premium:

The buyer shall pay the Auctioneer a commission at the rate of 20% on the Hammer Price plus VAT @ 23% (applied only to the commission) on all individual lots.

For example on a hammer price of €1,000, the Buyer's Premium amounts to €200 and the VAT on the Buyer's Premium amounts to €46.00, giving a total amount due of €1,246


All purchases must be paid for within two calendar days of the sale. Our payment terms are cash, banker's draft or cheque drawn on an Irish bank. Cheques will take a minimum of five working days to clear the bank, unless they have been vouched to our satisfaction prior to the sale, or you have a previous cheque payment history with Adam's. We also accept the following Credit Cards: Visa & Mastercard, subject to a credit card surcharge of 1.5% of the total invoice value, & American Express, subject to a surcharge of 3.65%. Debit cards, including Laser card payments, are not subject to a surcharge, however there are daily limits on Laser Card payments. Bank Transfer details are available on request. Please ensure that all bank charges are paid in addition to the invoice total, in order to avoid delays in release of the items. Goods will only be released upon clearance through the bank of all monies due.

Delivery takes place the day after the sale from 10.00am to 5.00pm. Uncollected lots may be subject to storage and handling charges unless specific arrangements have been made with the department. It is important to make contact with us in this regard to avoid any unnecessary charges. Adam's outsource all carriage & shipping requests to recommended third parties whom we deal with on a regular basis. This list is available upon request.

4. VAT Regulations

All lots are sold within the Auctioneer's VAT Margin Scheme unless advised to the contrary. Revenue Regulations require that the Buyer's Premium must be invoiced at a rate which is inclusive of VAT. This is not recoverable by any VAT registered buyer.

The VAT on buyer's premium may be zero rated for lots exported outside of the EU. This facility is available to non-residents and has strict guidelines in relation to availing of this scheme. Please contact a member of the accounts department to enquire further.

5. Absentee and Telephone Bids

We are happy to execute absentee or written bids for bidders who are unable to attend or can arrange for bidding to be conducted by telephone. Bid forms are available from our web site or you can leave absentee bids online by registering on Cancellation of bids must be confirmed 24 hours before the auction.

Bidding by telephone may be booked on lots with a minimum estimate of €500. Early booking is advisable as availability of lines cannot be guaranteed.

6. Condition Reports

The property is sold "as is" therefore imperfections/defects are not stated in the catalogue description. It is up to the intending purchaser to satisfy themselves as to the condition of a lot(s) before bidding. Condition reports may be requested in advance of sale subject to our terms of business. The report is an expression of opinion only and must not be treated as a statement of fact.

7. Conditions of Sale

All lots are being sold under the Conditions of Sale as printed in the sale catalogue and on display in the salerooms or via our web site