Jean-Paul Riopelle 100th Anniversary

The Canadian painter and sculptor was born on this day in 1923

Jean-Paul Riopelle 100th Anniversary

The internationally renowned Quebec painter and sculptor Jean-Paul Riopelle, was born on October 7th, 1923. He began his career studying under Paul-Émile Borduas in Montreal. During the 1940s, he joined the Automatiste movement and was one of the signers of the Refus Global manifesto. Based in Paris after 1949, Riopelle eventually began a complex relationship with the American painter Joan Mitchell. The pair lived and worked near Giverny, the town northwest of Paris made famous by the Impressionist painter Claude Monet. Riopelle’s art quickly evolved from its surrealist origins into a meaty abstract expressionism where patches of color were applied with a trowel or palette knife on large canvases. He was represented by the influential Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York and participated in the Venice Biennale (1954) and the São Paulo Biennial (1955). While in Paris, Riopelle’s friends included the artist Alberto Giacometti and the playwright Samuel Beckett. In the early 1970’s, after a breakup with Mitchell, he built a home and studio in the Laurentians and divided his time between Quebec and France. His later art-making saw a return of figurative imagery and an expressive fascination with the flight of birds Riopelle passed away on March 12th, 2002. On May 24, 2017, Riopelle’s painting Vent du nord sold at auction for $7,438,750 (Canada Dollars) (including buyer’s premium), the second-highest price to date for a Canadian work of art.

By Ken Warren, 2017/18

Watch a CBS clip from 1965 featuring an interview with Jean-Paul Riopelle

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