April Landscape - St. Ives signed, inscribed and dated 'Tony O'Malley/April Landscape - St. Ives./1962' (verso) oil on board 61 x 122 cm. (24 x 48 in.)
April Landscape St. Ives was painted at a significant point in the artistic career of the self- taught Tony O'Malley. Frustrated with the lack of progress he was making in his native Ireland, in 1960 he moved to St Ives in Cornwall where he was to remain for over 30 years. O'Malley had been twice before on painting holidays to Cornwall and had found a natural affinity with the Celtic roots and artistic community of free spirits.
Initially he painted in a studio in Porthmeor with three other artists, but shortly after settling in St. Ives, he moved to one of the Piazza Studios whose windows overlooked the sea inspiring many of his early works and giving him plenty of fodder for subject matter. One motif that held a particular fascination for O'Malley was that of birds. The whole process of flight and song appealled to O'Malley for numerous reasons and many of his works include reference to birds in either their titles or subject matter. With his studio that overlooked St Ives and his move to Trevalyor in 1962, which afforded him a bedroom over looking the sea and St Michael's Mount, O'Malley would have had plenty of time to contemplate the flight of the gull as depicted in April Landscape - St Ives with its emphasis on flight and freedom.
O'Malley's move to Cornwall had also opened up his mind to the possibilities that abstraction could offer him, and basing his work on reference to nature, April Landscape St. Ives, is evidence of a deeper exploration of abstraction. His near death experience when he suffered a severe heart attack in 1961 resulted in O'Malley's dark and sombre palette of this period, and yet the present lot, also captures his renewed artistic creativity following this experience and explores the joy and fragility of human existence.