Opening of the Boating Season, River Avon
1876, 515 x 875mm, Oil on canvas
Gibb was trained in the studio of John Mackenzie of Greenock. While living on the Firth of Clyde, he began to paint ships, exhibiting work with the Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts. He arrived in Ōtautahi in 1876, setting up a studio and taking pupils; his first exhibition was held in the same year. In 1877 and 1879, he had work in Australian exhibitions. He showed with the Otago Society of Arts and with the Canterbury Society of Arts after the latter was founded in 1880. He painted prolifically in oils and watercolours, becoming well known for his realistic treatment of water surfaces, and exhibited throughout New Zealand and at the St. Louis Exposition, Missouri, United States of America. His work is widely held in New Zealand galleries and museums. His oldest son, John Walker Gibb, was a picture framer in Ōtautahi. His second son, William Menzies Gibb, was also an artist.
A detailed biography appears in the catalogue for a 2000 exhibition at the Robert McDougall Art Gallery (now Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū).