Peter Siddell is identified by his depictions of the environs of Auckland in a hard-edged realist style.While his works appear to be records of actual places, most of Siddell’s paintings have a subjective component. Memory association and invention play roles in those compositions.
In her 1994 essay published in From the Isthmus, Julie Roberts described Siddell’s work as such: ‘The predominance of the urban image in his oeuvre sets Siddell apart from many of his contemporaries. The landscape has tended to dominate New Zealand painting and although the unique topography of this country is an essential component of his work, Siddell subordinates the landscape to the city. Or more correctly perhaps, he consistently juxtaposes the city with the land. Nature and human habitation co-exist.’
In 1991 Siddell was awarded the Queens Service Order in the New Years Honours as a testament to his services in the Arts and in January 2008 he was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (DCNZM).
His paintings are included in the collections of every major gallery in New Zealand including the Auckland City Art Gallery the National Gallery and also the McDougall, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Waikato Art Gallery and the Suter Art Gallery in Nelson.Siddell’s work is represented in the Fletcher Challenge, Bank of New Zealand and Telecom Corporate Collections. There are also several works in the Brierley collection. Overseas he represents New Zealand in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs collection.
Peter Siddell was New Zealand’s master technician of the New Realism movement and his works are uniquely New Zealand in style and context.