Siddell was born in Auckland and educated at Mt Albert Grammar School and the Auckland College of Education. In 1960 he married artist Sylvia Siddell, with whom he lived in Auckland. They had two daughters, now adults. Siddell had painted full-time since 1972, when he held his first solo show. Following this, he took part in many exhibitions in both public and commercial galleries.
Siddell's realist paintings are identified mainly with depictions of the environs of Auckland. While his works appear to be records of actual places, his paintings have a subjective component, and might be better described as magic realism than truly realistic. The cityscapes and townscapes in Siddell's paintings are rendered empty, but with the unnerving suggestion of events occurring outside the picture area. In this sense, his work can be compared to the metaphysical works of Giorgio de Chirico.
Siddell's work is held in the permanent collections of all New Zealand major public art galleries, as well as many private, corporate and institutional collections. He received a QSO in the 1990 New year's honours list, and a DCNZM in 2008.
In February 2011, a comprehensive survey of his art career was published by Random House New Zealand, "The Art of Peter Siddell."
Siddell died on October 24, 2011.
Siddell is only the second New Zealand artist to be knighted: the first was Sir Toss Woollaston
- "Peter Siddell | The Governor-General of New Zealand Te Kawana Tianara o Aotearoa". Gg.govt.nz. 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2011-11-07.
- Bunting, Finbarr (17 May 2009). "Peter Siddell: keeping it real in the face of death". The Sunday Star-Times. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
- "Artist Sir Peter Siddell dies | ENTERTAINMENT News". Tvnz.co.nz. 2011-10-25. Retrieved 2011-11-07.
- Artworks by Peter Siddell in the collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
- Images of Siddell's art
- "Painting North / Pointing South: Peter Siddell's Perspective on the Alps". Art New Zealand issue 98.
- Ten Dreams Galleries
- Artis Gallery
|This article about a New Zealand painter is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|