Artwork by Jean Paul Riopelle,  Sans titre

Jean Paul Riopelle
Sans titre

ink and watercolour
signed with initial and dated 1965 lower right; Riopelle Inventory no. 1965.023P.1965
10 x 8 ins ( 25.4 x 20.3 cms )

Sold for $23,600.00
Sale date: November 20th 2018

Gallery Moos, Toronto
Private Collection, Thornhill, Ontario
Sotheby’s Canada, auction, December 2, 1988, lot 41
Private Collection, Montréal
Yseult Riopelle, Jean Paul Riopelle: Catalogue raisonné, volume 3, 1960-1965, Montreal, 2009, full page colour reproduction, page 379, catalogue #1965.023P.1965
Guy Cogeval and Stéphane Aquin, Riopelle, Montreal, 2006, page 86
A prominent member of the Automatistes and signatory of the Refus Global, Jean-Paul Riopelle was a lifelong avant-garde and experimental artist. As part of Paul-Emile Borduas' circle, he produced his first abstract works in the late 1940s that were influenced by Surrealism, dream imagery and automatic writing. Riopelle’s works are both expressive and formal, responding to the art historical and socio-political environment of the post-war era, unique from his abstract-expressionist peers. Jeffery Spalding writes on the artist's work: “Each and every painting was an individual creation, not merely a member of a set or series. Yet, simultaneously each painting remained unquestionably identifiable as signature-brand Riopelle.”

This fine ink and watercolour painting, “Sans titre”, exemplifies Riopelle’s works of the 1960s that are experimental in nature, particularly with regards to media. In addition to his ‘tachiste’ oil paintings, the artist incorporated ink, watercolour, collage and lithography into his artistic oeuvre of the decade. Sans titre embodies a lyricism that is ‘signature-brand Riopelle’, recognizable by its spontaneous yet controlled black lines that are peppered with flecks of cranberry and olive green pigment.

Dating to 1965, “Sans titre” was painted during a time when Riopelle was renewing his artistic ties to Canada. After living in France for over a decade, he was immersed in the Parisian cultural scene. This brought him significant success on an international level as well, with shows in New York, Venice and Sao Paulo during the 1950s. In 1963, the National Gallery of Canada held a major solo exhibition on Riopelle’s painting, followed by a retrospective at the Musée du Québec in 1967. While re-establishing himself in Canada, the artist always maintained a presence abroad; the Galerie Maeght in Paris chose to represent him as of 1966, and dedicated a show to his work every two years.

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Jean Paul Riopelle
(1923 - 2002) Les Automatistes, RCA, SCA

Born in Montreal in 1923, abstract painter and sculptor Jean Paul Riopelle is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of contemporary Canadian art. Internationally acclaimed during his lifetime, his works are housed in museums and galleries around the world including the National Gallery in Ottawa, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Riopelle spent most of his career in France where he befriended some of the twentieth century's most influential artists. These included writer Samuel Beckett, surrealist Andre Breton, and sculptor Alberto Giacometti. Riopelle returned to Quebec in the 1970s. He created his last major work, “L'Hommage a Rosa Luxemburg” (Tribute to Rosa Luxemburg) after the death of his long-term companion, American painter Joan Mitchell, in 1992. The narrative fresco of 30 paintings was more than 130 feet long and was made using aerosol spray paint. He died at the age of 78 in 2002.