Don Peebles

Canvas Relief, 1991


b. 1922

d. 2010

Don Peebles, is regarded as a pioneer of abstract art in New Zealand, and his work is held in the collections of the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and the Christchurch Art Gallery.

Born in Taneatua, Bay of Plenty, in 1922, Don Peebles studied fine art in Florence, Italy at the end of WWII; Wellington and Sydney; and was strongly influenced by the constructivism of Victor Pasmore while working in London in the early 1960s.

Don Peebles greatly influenced generations of NZ artists as a highly respected senior lecturer and Reader in Painting at the Canterbury University School of Fine Arts, while continuing his own art practice and quest for the ultimate point of balance in abstraction. He retired from teaching in 1986 to paint full-time, and continued to exhibit regularly throughout New Zealand.

Peebles was the subject of a major and acclaimed retrospective exhibition The Harmony of Opposites, which toured in the 1990s. Peebles has written extensively on the arts, and is himself widely reviewed in leading books on New Zealand contemporary art.

Don Peebles has received several prestigious awards and fellowships, and in 1999 was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the visual arts. The University of Canterbury conferred an Honorary Doctorate on this distinguished artist in 2003.

A close friend of Lesley and Tom Kreisler, Don had a solo show at Lesley Kreisler Gallery , ‘Drawings, Canvas Reliefs, Constructions’, in 1991.

Don Peebles obituary in The Guardian.

Bruce Foster, Don Peebles, Christchurch 1996.