Jean Paul Riopelle, C.C., G.O.Q., LL.D.
Canadian , 1923-2002
Riopelle had his first solo exhibition at the Surrealist meeting place, Galerie La Dragonne in Paris, in 1949. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, he met and became friends with artists, writers and gallery owners including Georges Mathieu and Pierre Loeb, who introduced him to André Breton. He also met Jean Arp and Antonin Artaud at Loeb’s gallery.
Riopelle pioneered a style of painting where large quantities of varied coloured paints were thickly applied to the canvas with a trowel for such works as Pavane (1954) and The Wheel II (1956). The coming years brought Riopelle increasing success and immersion in the Parisian cultural scene. He was represented in New York and participated in the biennials of contemporary art in Venice (1954) and Sao Paulo (1955). He spent his evenings in Paris bistros with friends including playwright Samuel Beckett and artist Alberto Giacometti.
In the 1960s, Riopelle renewed his ties to Canada. Exhibitions were held at the National Gallery of Canada (1963), and the Musée du Quebec held a retrospective in 1967. In the early 1970s, he built a home and studio in the Laurentians. From 1974 he divided his time between St. Marguerite in Quebec, and Saint-Cyr-en-Arthies in France. Riopelle participated in his last exhibition in 1996. From 1994 until his death, he maintained homes in both St. Marguerite and Isle-aux-Grues, Quebec.