JEAN-PAUL RIOPELLECanadian 1923 - 2002

Sombre Noir bears all the hallmarks of Riopelle’s idiosyncratic style. Describing his works as “sculptures in oil”, the energetic application of paint, heavy impastos and bright flashes of colour capture Riopelle’s dedication to both his materials and process. Often compared to Jackson Pollock whose methods he explored in earlier works, the heavy mark making in this work display a more acute desire to investigate the very materiality of oil painting. His intuitive style combined with his decorative use of colour, have contributed to a body of work of great depth which took him from deep within the forests of his native Canada to the streets of post-war Paris.
Provenance:
Galerie Ariel, Paris (no.3404);
Galerie de l'Isle de France, Paris;
Galerie Jacques Dubourg, Paris;
Sant'Agata Casa d'Aste in San Marino, 13th December 2008, lot 100;
Private collection, France

Literature:
Yseult Riopelle, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Catalogue Raisonné, Volume 2 1954-1959, published 2004, no.1959.076H.1959

JEAN-PAUL RIOPELLECanadian 1923 - 2002

Perhaps Canada's finest painter Jean Paul Riopelle was born in 1923 in Montreal to a Spanish family who came to Canada in the 19th Century. He was one of the most important Expressionist painters that followed the 2nd World War and carried the Borduas Group into the 1960s where he progressed from Painterly abstraction to a more formal and instantly identifiable method of palette-knife painting. Initially, Riopelle was fascinated by Surrealism and he was an avid fan of Andre Breton's Le Surrealisme et la Peinture. However, he rejected the static teaching of Breton in favour of the Abstract Expressionists in 1946. In 1947 Riopelle moved to Paris where he worked as a non-figurative painter and in 1948 he signed the Global Rejection manifesto launched by the Borduas Group. By the mid-1950s he was established as an international artist of major importance. He showed at the Venice Biennale with Borduas in the 1954 exhibition representing Canada.

The market for Riopelle's work is strong, with a top price of over 5.5m USD at auction and more than 10 paintings selling for prices in excess of 1m USD. His work is in the collections of the Guggenheim in New York as well as MOMA, the Wallraff-Richartz in Cologne and, naturally, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Montreal.