Don Peebles

Painting 1969-No. 1

1969
acrylic on canvas
1530mm x 1630mm

signed Don Peebles, dated 1969 and inscribed “Painting 1969-”No. 1” ACRYLIC/CANVAS TOP ‘ 60 1/4″ x 64 1/4″ in graphite upper edge verso

Provenance

Private collection, Auckland.
Acquired from Webb’s, Auckland, 2010.

Essay

Don Peebles first studied art in a formal setting in Florence, while waiting to be demobilised after serving in the European theatre in World War II. There, he was exposed to It...

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Estimate $1,500 - $2,500
Achieved $2,051.88

Don Peebles

Painting 1969-No. 1

1969

acrylic on canvas

signed Don Peebles, dated 1969 and inscribed “Painting 1969-”No. 1” ACRYLIC/CANVAS TOP ‘ 60 1/4″ x 64 1/4″ in graphite upper edge verso

1530mm x 1630mm

Auction N˚4

Estimate $1,500 - $2,500

Achieved $2,051.88

Footnotes
  1. Justin Paton, Don Peebles: The Harmony of Opposites (Christchurch: Robert McDougall Art Gallery and Hazard Press Ltd, 1996), 21.
  2. Ibid.

Linear Series

by Andrew Clark

Don Peebles first studied art in a formal setting in Florence, while waiting to be demobilised after serving in the European theatre in World War II. There, he was exposed to Italian Renaissance paintings, and made his first watercolours and oils. From this unassuming beginning, Peebles produced a prodigious body of work, which amounts to an exhaustive investigation of the possibilities of abstract painting.  Over the course of his long career, Peebles was constantly exploring and questioning his own works, seeking to expand his artistic practice through an ongoing process of reassessment and renewal. His list of influences reads almost like an evolutionary lineage of modernism itself: Cezanne, Whistler, Braque, Burri, Tapies, Passmore, Poons, Noland. From his early figurative works such as Girl With Ball (1954), which might be best characterised as fauvist or proto-cubist, to his best-known 1980s works, with their voluminous folds of colour-stained canvas that blur the lines between painting and sculpture, Peebles remained an innovator.

The present work dates from 1969, produced as part of Peebles’ Linear Series, which Justin Paton characterises as “works of some panache, elegant and erudite, in which large zones of pristine colour are activated by linear foils.”¹ In the middle part of the decade, after returning to New Zealand from London in 1962, Peebles embarked on a remarkable series of constructivist assemblage works, which demonstrated his concerns with the architectonics of painting. However, Peebles was an inquisitive and highly experimental artist, and his return to canvas in the late ‘60s marked another departure, transplanting his formalist concerns into yet another style and media. Painting 1969 No. 1 shows clearly the influence of both the colour-field and op-art movements, in its style and execution, as well as in its imposing dimensions and use of colour. Paton suggests that at this time Peebles was concerned primarily with “the lyrical pressure that fields of singing colour can exert on a rigid format” and “in which the relation of field to edge, surface to depth, colour to colour are freighted with the utmost consideration.”² These concerns are clearly in evidence in the present work, which displays both an unusual choice of colour and a distinctly op-art influenced play with the distinction between subject and ground: are we looking at a pattern of gold on green, or green on gold?