Jean-Paul Riopelle

Canadian artist, Automatists, R.C.A. Order of Canada Companion

Jean-Paul Riopelle

Jean-Paul Riopelle, Canadian artist born in Montreal in 1923. Jean-Paul Riopelle's first painting classes were given by Mr. Henri Bisson, art teacher. He shows him mainly painting in nature. Jean-Paul Riopelle's parents dream of another future for their son. Thus, he began his studies at the Polytechnic, but left quickly finding the teaching too rigid. He was invited to the Montreal École du meuble where he met Paul-Emile Borduas.

This remarkable meeting pushed Jean-Paul Riopelle to abstraction and to join the group initiated by Borduas, the Automatists of 1946 and 1947 and which culminated with the signing of the manifesto of Refus Global in 1948. He left for Paris in the 50s, the only Canadian to exhibit in vernissages, and allied with the movement of lyrical abstraction of the time. It is in Paris that he meets the American painter Joan Mitchell who will become his wife for the next 24 years.

For nearly two decades, Jean-Paul Riopelle worked at his French workshops, Paris, Giverny and Vétheuil. He represented Canada in 1962 at the Venice Biennale and was the subject of a retrospective in 1981 at the Georges Pompidou National Center for Art and Culture in Paris.

The 70s were marked by the sculptural works of the artist. La Joute is also created and installed in front of the Olympic Stadium in Montreal for the 1976 games.

During the French years, Jean-Paul Riopelle returned to Canada for hunting trips mainly and permanently in 1989. The style of his works of art using aerosol cans and animal subjects is characteristic of his later production.

The painter died in 2002 at his residence in Ile-aux-Grues, Quebec.


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