Ivan Peries (1921-1988)

‘He who never left paradise Ceylon’

Peries’s work has increasingly grown together with his vision of the Sri Lankan landscape. The development of his art has grown from the momentum generated in his early years in Sri Lanka. His mature work exhibits a fine control of emotions and technique.

Peries first began drawing lessons under David Paynter in the early 1940s, in Colombo where he met Aubrey Collette. Following a short stint with Paynter, Harry Pieris became his teacher. A “fastidious master of the craft” and Pieris remained as the finest of all teachers to Peries.

In 1946 Peries went to London on a scholarship from St. Johns Wood School of Art where he discovered the technique of tempera; a technique he used quite extensively.

Ivan Peries has had many critics along the way. In the inaugral exibition of the 43 ‘Group, L.P. Goonetilleke commented that Ivan Peries was “trying his hand out and his work in this exhibition indicated his ability to evolve a personal idiom” (Weerarathne, 1993;p115). The following year the same critic stated “still on the track with a Whistler mood”. These depicted a rather volatile personality of the painter.

In 1951, he had his first solo exhibition which comprised of 125 paintings, drawings, water colours and pastels.

In London Lester James Peries in a letter to his parents described a painting which was bought by Martin Russell in its incomplete state. Russell believed that Ivan Peries “has now the indications of future greatness” (Weereratne, 1993, p117).

Ivan was well recieved by many at the ‘43 Groups’ first exhibition in London in 1952. The ‘Manchseter Guardian’ critic stated that Peries “evolved a strongly personal style and has entirely digested and made his own the influences which shaped him”. Senaka Dias Bandaranayake, who devoted a lot of time to study Ivan Peries’s work in 1969 stated “In spite of having spent a major part of his life as a painter abroad, there is nothing in his work which is outside the Ceylonese experience”. He was regarded as an artist who dealt "with feeling and emotion" (Bandaranayake and Dharmasiri, 2009).

Following his return back to the UK in 1953 he had several one-man exhibitions both in Eurpoe and Colombo, which included an exhibition with Harry Pieris and another with Richard Gabriel. In UK his exhibitions included that of a collection of 80 paintings and drawings at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford in 1965; another consisted of  53 works at the Commonwealth Institute Gallery in 1966.

Peries’s works form part of many collections around the world, which includes the Petit Palais in Paris which acquired a portrait of the Actress, Irangani Serasinghe, for its permanent collection; the Martin Russel collection, London; the Sapumal Foundation, Colombo; Pembroke College, Oxford; Leicester Education Authority, Leicester and the War Memorial Museum, London. He also participated in many other exhibitions apart from his solo ones, such as AIA Gallery, London (1954); Heffer Gallery, Cambridge (1954); the XXVII Venice Biennale (1956); the XXIX Venice Biennal (1958); South London Artt Gallery (1960); Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford (1961 and 1963); the Beaux Art Gallery, London.

References:  Weeraratne (1993); Bandaranayake and Fonseka (1996).

Name of Exhibition Year Place
Competitive Exhbition of the Ceylon Society of Arts 1939 The Art Gallery, Colombo
45th Exhibition: Ceylon Society of Arts 1940 The Art Gallery, Colombo
Ceylon Society of Arts Exhbition 1941 The Art Gallery, Colombo
Competitive Exhbition of the Ceylon Society of Arts 1941 The Art Gallery, Colombo
Ceylon Society of Arts Exhbition 1942 The Art Gallery, Colombo
Ceylon’s War Effort Pictures Exhibition 1943 King George’s Hall, University of Colombo
43 Group 1st Exhibition 1943 Darley Road, Colombo
43 Group 2nd Exhibition 1944 Darley Road, Colombo
43 Group 3rd Exhibition 1945 Darley Road, Colombo
43 Group 4th Exhibition 1946 Darley Road, Colombo
Exhibition of Paintings, Water Colours, Pastels and Drawings from the collection of Lionel Wendt; Organized by the ’43 Group 1946 Guildford Crescent, Colombo
UNEXCO Internation Exhibition of Modern Art: Painting, Graphic and Decorative Art, Architecture 1946 Museum of Modern Art, Paris
43 Group 5th Exhibition 1947 Guildford Crescent, Colombo
43 Group 6th Exhibition 1948 Guildford Crescent, Colombo
Diamond Jubilee Exhbition of Art in Ceylon ;1887-1947; Organized by the Ceylon Society of Arts 1948 Colombo
43 Group 8th Exhibition 1950 The Art Gallery, Guildford Crescent, Colombo
Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings, Water Colours, Pastels etc 1939-1951 1951 Colombo
43 Group Contemporary Ceylonese Painting 1952 Imperial Institute, London, UK
Internation Exhibition of Paintings 1952 Colombo
Exposition de L’Art Contemporain de Ceylan 1953 Petit Palais, Paris
6 Contemporary Ceylonese Painters 1954 Artists International Association Gallery, Leicester Square, London
Exhibition of Contemporary Painters from Ceylon 1954 The Heffer Gallery, Cambridge
43 Group 10th Exhibition 1955 The Art Gallery, Colombo
Exhibition of Contemporary Paintings and Drawings from Ceylon 1956 Arts Council Gallery, Cambridge
The 28th International Biennale 1956 Vennice
43 Group 11th Exhibition 1956 The Art Gallery, Guildford Crescent, Colombo
43 Group 12th Exhibition 1957 The Art Gallery, Guildford Crescent, Colombo
29th Vennice Biennale 1958 Vennice
43 Group 13th Exhibition 1959 The Art Gallery, Guildford Crescent, Colombo
A Loan Exhibition of Commonwealth Art 1960 Norwich Castle Museum, UK
Ceylon: A Painter’s Country: An Exhbition Illustrating the Practice of Painting in Ceylon from the 5th Century to the Present Day 1960 South London Gallery, Camberwell, London
South Asian Artists at Work in London 1960 Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford
Paintings by Ivan Peries and Peter Peterson 1962 Queenswood Gallery, London
Azzudin – Peries – Shariffe 1963 Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford
43 Group 14th Exhibition 1964 The Art Gallery, Guildford Crescent, Colombo
An Exhibition of Ceylon Paintings – Organized by the Ceylon High Commision 1964 Commonwealth Institute, London
43 Group – 21st Anniversary Exhibition 1964 Guildford Crescent, Colombo
Ivan Peries: Exhibition of Paintings, Collages, Drawings, Watercolours 1940-1965 1965 Oxford
Ivan Peries (Ceylon) 1966 Commonwealth Institute Art Gallery, London
The Lionel Wendt Collection – Lionel Wendt Memorial Exhibition 1967 Guildford Crescent, Colombo
43 Group 16th Exhibition 1967 The Art Gallery, Guildford Crescent, Colombo
Ivan Peries and Richard Gabriel: Paintings, Water Colours – Lionel Wendt 1969 Lionel Wendt Art Gallery, Guildford Crescent, Colombo
Ivan Peries 1979 Newman Room, Oxford
Exhibition of Recent Oils by Ivan Peries and Sculptures by Mary Gorrara – The Grayshott Art Gallery 1980 The Grayshott Art Gallery, Surrey
Ivan Peries (Sri Lanka) 1981 Galerie Abras Mont des Arts, Brussels
Festival of Sri Lanka; Contemporary Painting in Sri Lanka 1981 Commonwealth Institute, London
Ivan Peries 1983 Sapumal Foundation, Colombo 07
43 Group Colombo: An Exhibiition of Paintings, Etching, Drawings and Sculptors 1985 Purcell Room, Royal Festival Hall, London
A Selection of Contemporary Work of a Few Sri Lankan Artists 1985 Sapumal Foundation, Colombo 07
43 Group Exhibition 1987 Lyre Room, The South Bank Centre, Royal Festival Hall, London
The Other Story: Asian, African and Caribbean Artists in Post-War Britain 1990 Hayward Gallery, London
43 Group exhibition to honor George Keyt 1991 Colombo
Ivan Peries: Water Colours and Drawings 1993 Paradise Road, Colombo
Ivan Peries: Paintings, Water Colours, Drawings To mark the publication of the book 1996 Sapumal Foundation, Colombo 07
Exhibition of the ’43 Group and Other Artists by The Taprobane Collection 2017 Nelum Arts Centre, Colombo
Name of Book Year of Publication Author Printer
Ivan Peries Paintings – 1938-88 1996 Senaka Bandaranayake and M. Fonseka Tamarind Publications

Other Publicaitons the Artist has been mentioned in

Name of Book Year of Publication Author Printer
Art in Sri Lanka – The Anton Wickramasinghe Collection 1988 Albert Dharmasiri ANCL – Lake House
Modern Sri Lankan Painters 1992 George Keyt Foundation Siri Printers
43 Group 1993 Neville Weereratne Lantana Publishing
Moods and Modes – 50 years of Sri Lankan Painting 1999 The George Keyt Foundation Texts by: Martin Russel, Nihal Rodrigo, Ellen Dissanayake, S.B. Dissanayake Aitken Spence Printing
Visions of an Island – Rare works from Sri Lanka in The Christopher Ondaatje Collection 1999 Neville Weereratne Harper Collins Publishers Ltd
The Presidential Collection – Contemporary Sri Lankan Art 2008 Presidential Secretariat
Sri Lankan Painting in the 20th Century 2009 Senake Bandaranayake and Albert Dharmasiri The Nationl Trust Sri Lanka
Supplement to the Sapumal Foundation 2018 Rohan De Soysa The Sapumal Foundation
The Heritage I, II, III Albert Dharmasiri R. Rajamahendran

Ref :IP 4

Title :Musical Instruments

Year :Early 1940’s

Material Used :Oil on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :69 x 56

Ref :IP 109

Title :Standing Nude

Year :1970's

Material Used :Oil on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :51 x 41

Ref :IP 186

Title :Self Portrait

Year :1940's

Material Used :Oil on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :59.5 x 49

Ref :IP 108

Title :Figure by Moon Light

Signed :Upper Right

Year :1947

Material Used :Oil on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :51 x 49.5

Ref :IP 11

Title :Pier at Greenwich

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1948

Material Used :Oil on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :62 x 75

Ref :IP 106

Title :Bathers (Fishing Village

Year :1949

Material Used :Oil on Gesso Board

Dimensions in Cms. :62.5 x 86

Ref :IP 110

Title :Reclining Nude

Signed :Upper Right

Year :1949

Material Used :Oil on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :35 x 46

Ref :IP 618

Title :The Beloved

Year :1949

Material Used :Tempera/Water Colour on Board

Dimensions in Cms. :101.68 x 81.3

Ref :IP 12

Title :Seated Bull

Year :1950's

Material Used :Oil on Board

Dimensions in Cms. :52 x 36.5

Ref :IP 530

Title :Portrait of Prof S.B. Dissanayake

Signed :Upper Right

Year :1958

Material Used :Pencil / Pastel on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :60.5 x 45.5

Ref :IP 258

Title :Kirigal

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1961

Material Used :Oil on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :51 x 40.5

Ref :IP 105

Title :Marmalade Sun - Bahina Ira II

Signed :On Reverse

Year :1962

Material Used :Oil on Board

Dimensions in Cms. :60 x 75

Ref :IP 6

Title :The Mask

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1966

Material Used :Acrylic on Card

Dimensions in Cms. :36 x 49.5

Ref :IP 242

Title :Study of Man

Signed :Upper Right

Year :1967

Material Used :Pen and Ink on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :26.5 x 17.5

Ref :IP 244

Title :Study of Nude

Signed :Upper Right

Year :1967

Material Used :Pen Drawing

Dimensions in Cms. :26.5 x 17.5

Ref :IP 18

Title :Seated Man (by the Shore)

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1968

Material Used :Acrylic on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :20.5 x 25

Ref :IP 236

Title :Untitled

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1969

Material Used :Oil on Card Board

Dimensions in Cms. :26.5 x 19.5

Ref :IP 623

Title :Tobacco Box

Signed :Lower Middle

Year :1976

Material Used :Oil on Board

Dimensions in Cms. :69.5 x 45

Ref :IP 531

Title :Sail Boat

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1978

Material Used :Oil on Card

Dimensions in Cms. :43.5 x 68.5

Ref :IP 252

Title :Earth Tremor

Signed :Middle

Year :1980

Material Used :Oil on Board

Dimensions in Cms. :50.5 x 60

Ref :IP 5

Title :The Leaning Tree

Signed :Middle Right

Year :1982

Material Used :Oil on Card

Dimensions in Cms. :53 x 88.5

Ref :IP 21

Title :Standing Man

Signed :Upper Left

Year :1982

Material Used :Acrylic on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :28 x 20.5

Ref :IP 22

Title :Seated Man

Signed :Upper Left

Year :1982

Material Used :Acrylic on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :28.5 x 21

Ref :IP 23

Title :Standing & Seated Men

Signed :Upper Left

Year :1982

Material Used :Acrylic on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :21 x 30

Ref :IP 26

Title :Standing Man

Signed :Lower Left

Year :1982

Material Used :Acrylic on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :30 x 24

Ref :IP 30

Title :Two Seated Men

Signed :Upper Left

Year :1982

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :21 x 30

Ref :IP 42

Title :Standing & Sitting Men

Signed :Lower Left

Year :1982

Material Used :Acrylic on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :30 x 21

Ref :IP 43

Title :Standing Man

Signed :Upper Left

Year :1982

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :30 x 21

Ref :IP 47

Title :Standing Man & Sitting Man

Signed :Upper Left

Year :1982

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :30 x 21

Ref :IP 49

Title :Standing Man & Sitting Man

Signed :Lower Left

Year :1982

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :30 x 21

Ref :IP 50

Title :Two Seated Men

Signed :Lower Left

Year :1982

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :21 x 30

Ref :IP 51

Title :Standing Man

Signed :Upper Left

Year :1982

Material Used :Acrylic on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :30 x 21

Ref :IP 57

Title :The Leaning Tree

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1982

Material Used :Oil on Card

Dimensions in Cms. :64 x 90.5

Ref :IP 59

Title :The Leaning Tree

Signed :Lower Middle

Year :1982

Material Used :Oil on Card

Dimensions in Cms. :64 x 90.5

Ref :IP 98

Title :Standing Man

Signed :Upper Left

Year :1982

Material Used :Acrylic on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :30 x 21

Ref :IP 101

Title :Seated Man

Signed :Upper Left

Year :1982

Material Used :Acrylic on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :30 x 21

Ref :IP 102

Title :Standing Man

Signed :Upper Left

Year :1982

Material Used :Acrylic on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :30 x 21

Ref :IP 112

Title :Standing Man & Seated Man

Signed :Upper Left

Year :1982

Material Used :Acrylic on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :30 x 21

Ref :IP 113

Title :Standing Man

Signed :Upper Left

Year :1982

Material Used :Acrylic on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :30 x 21

Ref :IP 123

Title :Standing Man

Signed :Upper Left

Year :1982

Material Used :Acrylic on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :29.5 x 21

Ref :IP 225

Title :Hut by the Shore

Signed :Lower Left

Year :1982

Material Used :Oil on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :50.5 x 60.5

Ref :IP 247

Title :The Leaning Tree

Signed :Middle

Year :1982

Material Used :Oil on Card

Dimensions in Cms. :64 x 90

Ref :IP 248

Title :The Leaning Tree

Signed :Middle

Year :1982

Material Used :Oil on Card

Dimensions in Cms. :64 x 90

Ref :IP 249

Title :Leaning Tree

Material Used :Oil on Card

Dimensions in Cms. :64 x 90

Ref :IP 2

Title :Standing Man

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1983

Material Used :Acrylic on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :30 x 21

Ref :IP 95

Title :Standing Man

Signed :Upper Left

Year :1985

Material Used :Acrylic on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :29.5 x 21

Ref :IP 226

Title :Woman by the Beach

Signed :Top Right

Year :1986

Material Used :Oil on Board

Dimensions in Cms. :61 x 51

Ref :IP 227

Title :Girl & Flower Vase

Signed :Middle

Year :1986

Material Used :Oil on Board

Dimensions in Cms. :76 x 50.5

Ref :IP 7

Title :Warrior on Horse

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1987

Material Used :Oil on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :64 x 52

Year Institute Qualification