Jean-Paul Riopelle
(1923-2002)


Born in Montréal in 1923, Jean-Paul Riopelle is widely regarded as the founding father of Canadian contemporary art. His works form part of important collections around the world including the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, with Canada’s Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec owning one of the most representative collections of his work.

Riopelle spent most of his career in France, where he was friends with some of the last century's most influential artists.These included writer Samuel Beckett, surrealist André Breton and sculptor Alberto Giacometti.

He first gained international recognition in Paris during an exhibition of works by the "automatist" group of avant-garde painters. In the 1950s, his thickly textured paintings, large, spatula-composed mosaics, bronze sculptures and ceramic murals won critical acclaim around the world. His works are arenas of energy, tensions and vibrations. From the 1970s to the late 1980s, Riopelle divided his time between his Lac Masson studio in the Laurentians and his residences and studios in France. He created his last major work, L'Homage a Rosa Luxemburg (Tribute to Rosa Luxemburg) after the death of his long-term companion, US painter Joan Mitchell, in 1992. He spent the last years of his life on Isle-aux-Grues, where he died in 2002.


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