Artist Don Peebles, ONZM, has died at the age of 88. Peebles died on Saturday 27 March in Christchurch. Artis Gallery offer our sympathies to Donís wife Prue, their children and grandchildren.
A key figure in the emergence and evolution of New Zealand abstract art, Pebbles was a leading force in contemporary New Zealand painting and is one of New Zealand's most senior and respected practitioners.
Peebles was born in 1922 in Taneatua near Whakatane. He saw active service in the army during World War 2 and studied art in Florence briefly at the war's end before returning to New Zealand.
He attended classes at the Wellington Technical College Art School from 1947 to 1950 and the Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney from 1951 to 1953. When furthering his studies in London in the 1960ís, Peebles met Constructionist artist Victor Pasmore. The works of Pasmore and other Constructionists influenced him to embark on a style of painting that tried "to get at the essence of things -- to keep pushing back the boundaries".
In 1965 Peebles was appointed to the staff of the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts, becoming Head of the Painting Department in 1980. He retired in 1986 and returned to painting fulltime. His work has been acquired by both public and private collections in New Zealand and internationally. He has exhibitied with Artis Gallery for over thirty years.
Don Peebles was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the visual arts in 1999 and in 2003 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Canterbury. The Arts Foundation of New Zealand made him an icon in 2007, one of twenty individuals recognised for their life-long achievement.