Riopelle: Crossroads in Time
As part of the centennial celebrations of Jean Paul Riopelle’s birth, the National Gallery of Canada will present a major exhibition of its own Riopelle works, together with loans from public and private collections.
This centenary retrospective examines the 20th-century artistic trailblazer through a 21st-century lens and introduces Riopelle as a tireless experimenter and innovator, anchored in the contemporary realm. Drawing on the artist’s oeuvre across various mediums, Guest Curator Sylvie Lacerte will present Riopelle anew as she challenges some of the pervasive assumptions about his life and work. Offering a unique take on this famed Canadian artist, the show includes his acclaimed works alongside creations rarely or never seen before.
Visitors will discover the full force of Riopelle’s influence through the inclusion of selected works by artists – both his contemporaries and some working today – who represent a broad range of cultural and aesthetic perspectives. The exhibition will be accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue featuring essays by art specialists, writers and artists who reflect on Riopelle’s legacy as they look at his work.
Organized by the National Gallery of Canada
When I begin a painting I always hope to complete it in a few strokes, starting with the first colours I daub down anywhere and anyhow. But it never works, so I add more, without realizing it.
— Jean Paul Riopelle, 1959
Jean Paul Riopelle, who was born in Montreal in 1923 and died in Isle-aux-Grues in 2002, was one of the greatest Canadian artists of the twentieth century and among the few to achieve international recognition. A student of Paul-Émile Borduas at the École du meuble de Montréal, he briefly joined the Automatiste movement and co-signed the Refus global manifesto in 1948. By then, he was settled in France, where he lived and worked for forty years, building a reputation that earned his works space on the walls of major museums. Riopelle received numerous awards, including the Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas in 1981, and his works are included in public and private collections around the world. He has left us with a huge and brilliant body of work that transcends time and has inspired generations of artists.
For more information, visit Jean Paul Riopelle | National Gallery of Canada
Jean Paul Riopelle
Throughout his career, Jean Paul Riopelle sought to create spaces in which he could communicate his vision and his passion for art, while also inspiring others to explore, innovate and surpass their creative potential. Continuing this legacy, the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation – launched in Montreal in 2019 – not only celebrates Riopelle and his work, but also encourages and supports a new generation of visual artists.
To mark the centenary of Riopelle’s birth, the Foundation has been collaborating with museums and galleries worldwide, encouraging exhibitions and artistic projects exploring the life of one of the most important artists of the 20th century.
Clips from Radio-Canada television broadcasts showing insights into Jean Paul Riopelle’s art practice.
In French with English audio and captions.
Excerpts from Champ Libre, 1965 clips 1 and 2; total time: 4 min, 1 s. Excerpts from Le sel de la semaine, 1968 clips 3, 4, and 5; total time: 4 min, 37 s. CBC archives
Explore the diverse creative periods of Riopelle’s fifty-year career and learn about its importance for artists working today.
Let’s talk art
Have questions about the art you see? Look for our friendly interpreters throughout the exhibition on weekends and holidays.
This richly illustrated catalogue features essays by art specialists and artists who reflect on Riopelle’s legacy as they look at his work. Discover the full force of his legendary influence on both his contemporaries and artists working today, all of whom represent a broad range of cultural and aesthetic perspectives.
Available in the Gallery Boutique and online.