Don Peebles is one of New Zealand’s most senior artists. He began his training at the Wellington Technical College of Art in 1947, he then moved to Australia and studied under John Passmore, a leading Australian painter at the time, at the Julian Ashton School of Arts in Sydney.
Audio from RNZ:
One of the pioneers of New Zealand abstract painting, artist Don Peebles, ONZM, has died at the age of 88.
Rest of the NZ Herald item follows.
According to the New Zealand Arts Foundation, Peebles was a key figure in the emergence and evolution of New Zealand abstract art.
He was a leading force in contemporary New Zealand painting and one of New Zealand’s most senior and respected practitioners.
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.
The director of the Diversion Gallery in Marlborough, Barbara Speedy, said the artist had continued painting throughout his battle with cancer. She said Peebles had an extremely dry sense of humour.
“It was like a razor-sharp wit sheathed in silk because he was always such a gentleman in everything.”
Peebles, being extremely well read and a source of wisdom, was an unofficial mentor and guide for a lot of New Zealand artists, she said. “It’s like a piece of our art history has fallen away.”
Peebles is survived by his wife, Prudence, and their three children.