|ARTIST:||Peter McIntyre OBE.|
|DATES:||New Zealand 1910 - 1995|
|TITLE:||Winter, Eastern Oregon|
|MEDIUM:||Oil on canvas|
|SIZE:||60 x 75 cm|
|REMARKS:||Signed lower right|
Peter McINTYRE OBE.
New Zealand 1910 - 1995
Peter McIntyre was born in Dunedin in 1910. The son of a painter and graphic artist, McIntyre rose to become one of New Zealand's most popular and celebrated artists of the mid-twentieth century. His works remain highly sought after for their diversity of subject and their ability to convey the essence of a scene through an array of media.
McIntyre’s landscapes effectively preserve a unique and intimate record of the people and environs of New Zealand. His wartime paintings detail the unfamiliar territories of significant battles in Crete, the Western Desert and Italy during WWII, while the numerous books that he wrote and illustrated capture the atmosphere and people of the countries he visited.
McIntyre attended the University of Otago in Dunedin where he initially studied journalism. He maintained his artistic interests throughout his university years and eventually decided to pursue fine arts. McIntyre travelled to London to study at the Slade School of Fine Arts between 1931-34, during which time he was influenced by European modernism. Along with fellow expatriates such as Frances Hodgkins and Len Lye, McIntyre became one of New Zealand's most innovative artists. While New Zealand was still entrenched in regionalism, McIntyre was exploring and experimenting with the tenets of cubism and surrealism which would not become popular in the New Zealand art scene until the 1960s.
With the outbreak of war in 1939, McIntyre enlisted with the London based New Zealand's 34th Anti-tank Battery unit and was sent to Egypt. During his time in the armed services, McIntyre's artistic style and interests moved from modernist abstraction to an increasingly realistic approach. Throughout his time in Egypt, McIntyre produced illustrations for the war magazine Parade and in 1941 he was appointed New Zealand's official war artist, serving directly under General Bernard Freyberg. Subsequently, McIntyre's wartime paintings were exhibited in England and New Zealand as well as being reproduced in magazines including the New Zealand Listener, the Illustrated London News and Studio.
The war years were a crucial period in McIntyre's artistic career. During this time he established a wide reputation and consolidated his artistic style. On his return to New Zealand in 1946, McIntyre was one of the very few artists in New Zealand who managed to sustain a living from painting and he mounted several sell-out shows throughout the country. From 1962 to 1981 he also wrote a total of eight books documenting his travels whilst painting in England, Italy, South East Asia, America and Antarctica. These volumes were illustrated with high quality colour reproductions of his paintings and the books became highly successful in New Zealand and abroad. They continue to be collectors' items to this day.
In December 1970, Peter McIntyre was awarded an OBE for Services to the Arts, which eclipsed the numerous awards that he had already received and ultimately paid tribute to one of New Zealand's most exceptional artistic talents.
Throughout his career, McIntyre developed a central thread of narrative and meaning into his canvases. His works are more than just topographical records. They speak of the grandeur, harmony and the sharp clear light that illuminates the New Zealand countryside. Furthermore, McIntyre is able to communicate through his images the strong yet intimate connection that binds New Zealanders to the land. His images possess emotional and intellectual facets, which are reflected in his writings on the New Zealand landscape that he once described as having 'a mystic sense'. Preferring to paint outdoors and immerse himself in his chosen subject, McIntyre clearly belongs to the rich tradition of the en plein-aire painters. Indeed, back in New Zealand after the war, McIntyre stated that he began to paint the countryside and the life of the sheep stations: "I went mustering in the grey dawn to ride the high ridges all day, returning happily tired."
The works by Peter McIntyre in this exhibition provide a stunning overview of his prodigious talents and varied career. Scenes of McIntyre's travels through Europe, South-East Asia, North Africa and America are presented alongside the more familiar beaches, lakes and farmland of New Zealand. Together they underscore the talent, passion and spirit of an internationally acclaimed artist who continues to inspire and delight.
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