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Jean-Paul Riopelle

Born, 1923 in Montreal, Canada. Died, 2002

From the catalogue Commonwealth Artists of Fame 1952 - 1977 (Commonwealth Art Gallery, London, 1 June - 3 July 1977): “Riopelle was born in Montreal and grew up there, receiving drawing and painting lessons while still a boy. This early tuition was unimaginative and it was not until comparatively late in life that he saw the original  works which he he had earlier copied from prints; at that time such experience was usual for young Canadian artists. In 1943 he enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Montreal but more influential were his visits to the Ecole de Meuble and his study under Paul Emile Borduas; that influential and revered artist formed a group known as Les Automatistes and Riopelle exhibited with them in 1946. He also signed ‘Refus Global’, the manifesto which led to Borduas’s fall from official favour. Riopelle began to develop an independence marked by romanticism rather than a philosophical questioning approach. He travelled in Germany, France and visited New York but settled in Paris in 1948 where he has lived ever since. This long residence has led some to regard him as no longer Canadian but rather as an artist of the School of Paris. His work has certainly been purchased a great deal by European collectors but in 1962 the Canadian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale was devoted to him. There are, too, characteristics and qualities in his work which some consider thoroughly Canadian. Whether he is regarded as Canadian, French or international Riopelle has produced some of the most beautiful abstract paintings in the post-war years but ‘abstract’ is a term the artist dislikes.”

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»  Commonwealth Artists of Fame 1952 - 1977 - catalogue

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 1977

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»  Commonwealth Institute

London, United Kingdom