- Oil on canvas
- Gift of Prue Peebles and family, 2010
- 533 x 660mm
Don Peebles travelled to Sydney in 1950, in search of a more modern art training than was available to him in Wellington. (‘Nothing much was going on in Wellington other than us being taught to draw a foot that looked like a foot,’) he said. His teacher John Passmore (1904–1984) introduced his students to early twentieth-century European modernism: Bonnard and Picasso, Cézanne and cubism. ‘That was modernism to me. That was the latest thing as far as I knew in those days.’ Passmore also encouraged his students to paint around the waterfront, a regular subject for his own work in the early 1950s. Sydney Harbour reveals Peebles moving towards the abstraction that would characterise his mature work, but not yet completely there (he made his first completely abstract work a few years later in London). A Cézanne-esque concern for planes, facets and the structure of forms is evident, even while buildings, water and distant hills remain visible.