JEAN-PAUL RIOPELLE | UNTITLED
1923 - 2002
signed and dated 59
oil on paper mounted to linen
Sheet: 20 by 26 in. (49 by 64 cm.)
Framed: 21¾ by 27¾ in. (55.2 by 70.6 cm.)
This work is in very good condition overall. There is minor discoloration to the underlying sheet along the left edge. There is a fine layer of dust on the surface. There are two minor losses to the pigment along the lower edge, visible upon close inspection. There are minor accretions to some of the impasto passages, primarily to the lower left quadrant, visible upon close inspection. Framed without glazing.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.
Born in Montreal in 1923, Jean-Paul Riopelle’s distinctive and unique vision was evident from an early stage when he withdrew from École des beaux-arts de Montréal after only a year of study, citing its excessively academic and constrained curriculum as a hindrance to his creation. He later enrolled into the École du Meuble where he became a student of Paul-Émile Borduas – founder of “Les Automatistes”, a group of Quebecois dissident artists influenced by Surrealism, and the main proponent of the Refus global (‘Total refusal’) – a manifesto that rejected academic training in favor of abstract painting driven by the creative subconscious. In 1947, Riopelle relocated to Paris and began participating in the avocation of the abstract painterly style alongside key European and American artists including Hans Hartung, Georges Mathieu, Sam Francis and his long-time lover, Joan Mitchell.
Poised between spontaneity and restraint, intuition and composed control, Riopelle achieved a unique aesthetic with distinctive volume of impasto and exuberance of color. The resulting compositions propose an abstract suggestion of landscape, with the imprints of figuration flitting in and out of the abstracted arrangements of color and texture. Firmly established and immersed within the School of Paris, from the 1950s onwards Riopelle enjoyed increasing success within the Parisian art scene and began to be exhibited internationally, participating in the Venice Biennale in 1954 and the Sao Paolo Biennale in 1955.
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. The Musée des beaux-arts du Québec held a major retrospective of Riopelle’s work in 2006 that was shown at the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, and at the Musée Cantini in Marseille.