Sculptor Edward Delaney dies aged 79


THE SCULPTOR Edward Delaney has died in Galway. Born in Claremorris, Co Mayo, in 1930, Delaney was best known for two major Dublin public monuments commissioned by the government, and featuring representations of Irish patriots, the Wolfe Tone statue in St Stephen’s Green and Thomas Davis which stands opposite the gates of Trinity College in College Green.

Initially working in bronze and later sculpting in stainless steel, he also made many depictions of animal figures – horses being a favourite subject – which predated the later abstract work.

Delaney was a graduate of the National College of Art and Design and went on to study casting in Germany in the 1950s. He represented Ireland in the Paris Biennale in 1959 and 1961 and at the World Fair in New York in 1965. He had an active role in establishing the Project Arts Centre in Dublin in the 1970s.

As well as his more public art works, he was represented in many private and corporate collections and created an altar piece for St Michael the Archangel church in Ballinasloe and work for Our Lady’s Hospital in Drogheda.

His six-metre high Celtic Twilight is situated on the UCD campus at Belfield. He was a favourite among Irish collectors, including businessman Gordon Lambert and former taoiseach Charles Haughey.

Director of the Arts Council Mary Cloake yesterday called the artist “a pioneer in situating work in the public domain . . . someone whose record in delivery was always uncompromising. He articulated public sensibilities through his work which stands testimony in the public sphere to this day.”

In 1971, his statue of Wolfe Tone was blown up and had to be reconstructed by the artist when only the head survived. His angel fountain around the Davis statue prompted the refrain “urination once again”.

In recent years he lived in Carraroe, where a large body of his stainless steel work is on view in the sculpture park. A bronze statue, Eve with Apple, recently donated to the Irish Museum of Modern Art, is due to be unveiled in the museum tomorrow. The statue was inspired by the artist’s years in Germany and the postwar poverty he witnessed there. His funeral will take place in Crossboyne, Co Mayo, on Saturday.