Markey died early in January 1999, following a sixty-year career. His life as a merchant seaman freed him from the parochialism of his Northern Irish contemporaries. He was acquainted first hand with members of the School of Paris, and many strands of European modernism, particularly Cubism and Expressionism. While the art establishment of the 1960s and 1970s ignored him, art dealer Oliver Nulty tirelessly financed exhibitions and publications, slowly building up a reputation, which began to soar in the 1980s and 1990s.
His greatest works – expressionist-influenced landscape, heavily-outlined clowns, still-lives and erotica – place him in the first division of Irish twentieth-century art.