Executed circa 1960, this work is accompanied with a certificate of authenticity issued by Yseult Riopelle
In December 1947, Mathieu included Riopelle in L’Imaginaire (‘The Imaginary’) at Galerie du Luxembourg. The exhibition was the first exhibition for Lyrical Abstraction; in his introduction, Jean Jose Marchand used the expression ‘lyrical abstractivism’ and concludes: “As of now, the way is open. It’s up to the painters to show us how they use this liberty”. Thereafter, Riopelle pioneered a style of painting where large quantities of dense exuberant colour were thickly applied to the canvas, often via three or four tubes of paint a time, and then scraped with a spatula or a palette knife. Poised between spontaneity and restraint, intuition and composed control, Riopelle achieved a unique aesthetic with distinctive volume of impasto, exuberance of colour and ‘gloss’ of reflected light. The resulting compositions propose an abstract suggestion of landscape, with the imprints of figuration flitting in and out of the abstracted arrangements of colour and texture. Firmly established and immersed within the School of Paris, from the 1950s onwards Riopelle enjoyed increasing success within the Parisian art scene; furthermore he was represented in New York and participated in Venice Biennale (1954) and Sao Paolo Biennale (1955).
At the end of the 1950s, around the time the present work was created, Riopelle was said to have dwelled at length on what his friend Georges Duthuit wrote about his work; specifically, the critic said that he saw in Riopelle’s works an “uncontrollable search for the image […] up to the very titles [of his paintings]”. Perhaps in response, Riopelle was quoted to have said: “There is no abstraction or figuration: there is only expression and expressing oneself, it is about placing oneself in front of things. To abstract means to take away, to isolate, to separate whilst I try to do the contrary, to add, to approach, to link”. Distancing himself from rhetoric and theory, Riopelle continued on his own singular artistic vision that celebrated the pure materiality and luminesce of nature and pigment. Riopelle continued to shine in decades that followed. He was awarded UNESCO prize at the Venice Biennale In 1962, followed by the Order of Canada in 1969 and the Philippe Hébert Prize in 1973. His works are held in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Tate Gallery in London, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, among others.
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