Don Binney

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Don Binney
Born (1940-03-24)24 March 1940[1]
Auckland, New Zealand
Died 14 September 2012(2012-09-14) (aged 72)
Auckland, New Zealand
Nationality New Zealander
Children Mary Binney
Don Binney
Education Elam School of Fine Arts
Known for Painting

Donald Hall Binney, OBE (24 March 1940[1] – 14 September 2012), was a New Zealand painter, best known for his paintings of birds.


Born and raised in Auckland, Binney was educated in Parnell, Auckland, taking classes with John Weeks and R B Sibson, who became his good friend and guide to the field of ornithology. From 1958 to 1961, he studied at Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland, gaining a Diploma of Fine Arts. Binney’s tutors included Ida Eisa, James Turkington, Robert Ellis and Robin Wood. In 1963, he held his first solo exhibition at Ikon Gallery, Auckland and began teaching at Mount Roskill Grammar School, where he taught until 1966.[3]

In birdwatching, Binney said he discovered a passage into the landscape and the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with it.

Binney described himself as a figurative painter concerned with the psychic metaphor of the environment.[4] Working in oil, acrylic, charcoal, ink and carbon pencil, many of his works depict the west coast of Auckland and Northland, containing sea, sky, native birds, still life and occasionally, figures.

He was awarded an OBE for services to the arts in the 1995 Queen's Birthday Honours.[5][6] Binney died of a heart attack while in hospital in Auckland[7] for an unrelated illness on 14 September 2012, at the age of 72, and was survived by his second wife Philippa and daughter Mary.[2][8][9] His first wife was the historian Judith Binney.[2]


In 1965, Binney was included in a survey show of New Zealand painting, held in London and in the "Eight NZ Artists" touring show of Australian state galleries. In 1967, he was the recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council travel fellowship. He lived in Mexico, London, and Australia, but returned to teach at Elam, becoming the senior lecturer in Fine Arts in 1979.

Binney has exhibited widely throughout New Zealand and was the subject of a thirty-year survey show at the Fisher Gallery, Pakuranga in 1989. He also had a retrospective exhibition curated by Damien Skinner that toured the country from 2003 to 2004. His work is represented in many public collections including the Auckland Art Gallery, The University of Auckland and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.[10]


  1. ^ a b Stringer, John. "My Friend Don Binney Has Died". coNZervative. Retrieved 16 September 2012.  – Sources are (even self-) inconsistent, saying he was 72 or 73, yet born in 1940, resulting in a possible range of birth dates from 15 September 1938 to 14 September 1940. However, based on input from this source, 24 March 1940 seems likely to be correct, and more sources are starting to list his age as 72 as time passes.
  2. ^ a b c d Wynn, Kirsty (16 September 2012). "Don Binney's death a 'complete shock'". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 September 2012.  – mis-spells Philippa as Phillipa, but later obit and other sources confirm Philippa.
  3. ^ "Don Binney - ARTIS Gallery - Artists". ARTIS Gallery. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "New Zealand painter Binney dies". Television New Zealand. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  5. ^ Queen's Birthday Honours List 1995. Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  6. ^ Don Binney Archived 29 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine., PaperGraphica. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
  7. ^ "Auckland artist Don Binney dies". NewZealandCity. 15 September 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  8. ^ "New Zealand painter Don Binney dies,", 15 September 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  9. ^ "Painter Don Binney passes away". NewstalkZB. 14 September 2012. 
  10. ^ Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (20 May 2009). "Pacific frigate bird I - Collections Online - Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa". Retrieved 16 September 2012. 

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