One of the major figures in New Zealand modernist art, Don Peebles was a pioneer of Constructionist Abstraction in this country. Peebles’ career spanned over 60 years to his death in 2010 and his work continues to have a significant influence on generations of New Zealand artists.
Peebles constantly reinvented himself, bringing a freshness of ideas and form to each artwork. His work was often pared back to a deceptive simplicity, as he juxtaposed texture, harmonised colour and composition, to the ultimate point of balance. As Peebles said – the question is not ‘what does it mean?’ – but like listening to fine music, ‘how does it make you feel?’
Peebles’ work is a must in any serious collection of abstract New Zealand art. His work is held in major public and private collections throughout New Zealand and is an essential ingredient in key surveys of contemporary, modernist or abstraction NZ art – yet he has remained among the more affordable of New Zealand’s senior artists.
Born in 1922 at Taneatua, Bay of Plenty, Don Peebles studied Fine Art in Florence, Italy, at the end of WWII and also in Wellington and Sydney. He was strongly influenced by the constructivism of Victor Pasmore while working in London in the early 1960’s.
Peebles was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1999 for his services to New Zealand art and in 2003 received an honorary Doctorate in Literature from the University of Canterbury.
Several of Peebles’ works have been made available for sale by his family to ARTIS Gallery in Auckland.