Don Peebles

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1922, d.2010


  • 1972
  • Acrylic on canvas
  • Presented by the Friends of the Robert McDougall Art Gallery, 1986
  • 1536 x 1536 x 30mm
  • 86/35

For the exhibition Untitled #1050 (25 November 2017 – 14 October 2018) this work was displayed with the following label:

“Neither my reliefs nor my paintings derive from any strict mathematical basis but are assembled with a free sense of order, more characteristic of the painter than the function-influenced architect or designer. The narrative aspects of art are of less interest to me than the more purely visual and private impulses – if such elements as colour, light, line, form, mass, volume are intimately experienced, they too can result in a very personal statement.”

—Don Peebles, 1973

“I was once asked by a person at an exhibition of mine what my works meant. And I said ‘I do them, I don’t accompany them.’”

—Don Peebles, undated

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • Don Peebles was one of New Zealand’s foremost abstract painters, and one who had a special influence on art in Canterbury. As a teacher at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts, Peebles's rigour and encouragement had an impact on several generations of students – as did his dry sense of humour. But it is as a painter in his own right that he is best remembered, and there are twenty-three works in our collection. An exhibition charting his sustained career opened at the Robert McDougall Art Gallery in 1996 and toured nationally. Throughout the decade and a half following, he continued to make surprising, thoughtful and visually rich paintings – often revisiting the spare geometry of his 1960s works in a newly lyrical spirit. Peebles was a long-serving patron of the Friends of Christchurch Art Gallery; Untitled was presented by the Friends in 1986, and illustrates the month of March in their 2010 calendar. Don Peebles died at his home in Ilam on 27 March 2010 and will be greatly missed by the art community.

    (Label written to mark the artist's death, 2010)