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LOT 014

Jean Paul Riopelle

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AUTO CAS OC QMG RCA SCA
1923 - 2002
Canadian

Self
oil on canvas
signed and on verso signed, titled, dated 1959, inscribed "3906" and "1773" and stamped indistinctly
51 x 38 in, 129.5 x 96.5 cm

CAD

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

PROVENANCE
Galerie Jacques Dubourg, Paris
Galerie Ariel, Paris
Private Collection, Montreal
By descent to a Private Collection, USA
Canadian Post-War & Contemporary Art, Heffel Fine Art Auction House, November 19, 2008, lot 28
Acquired from the above by an Important Private Collection, Montreal

LITERATURE
Yseult Riopelle, Jean Paul Riopelle Catalogue Raisonné, online addendum to Volume 2, 1954 - 1959, 2004, http://www.riopelle.ca
Michel Martin et al., Mitchell / Riopelle: Nothing in Moderation, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, 2017, reproduced page 58

EXHIBITED
Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Quebec City, Mitchell / Riopelle: Nothing in Moderation, October 12, 2017 - January 7, 2018, traveling in 2018 – 2019 to the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, and Fonds Hélène & Édouard Leclerc, Landerneau, France, catalogue #19

Jean Paul Riopelle was a member of the Montreal artist group known as Les Automatistes and signed on to its Refus global manifesto in 1948. Soon after, Riopelle moved to Paris, where he pursued a prominent career, particularly among European artists associated with Lyrical Abstraction, a term encompassing the new abstract practices emanating from the Paris School in the 1950s. Against this backdrop of cultural emulation, a community of American artists also came to Paris to study, hone their skills, or simply immerse themselves more deeply in French existentialism. After forging a deep friendship with Californian Sam Francis, Riopelle became particularly close to American painters, sculptors and literary figures, mainly from the East Coast. Riopelle met Joan Mitchell, a young American painter associated with New York Abstract Expressionism, at a party in the summer of 1955. The two artists soon embarked on a stormy affair that lasted until they broke up in 1979.

Their first years as a couple were intense, both personally and professionally. Riopelle and Mitchell admired each other’s work, and signs of this mutual influence became more or less evident in each artist’s approach. Riopelle made no secret of this fact in his letters to Mitchell, who continued to spend much of the year in New York. “I’m in the studio and I’ve been experimenting with gouache. I don’t know if it worked, but I’m happier because all these big three-by-three-foot gouaches look like your paintings, my love,” he writes.[1] Of course, echoes of all this gouache or oil-on-paper work, which Riopelle admits is perfectly aligned with Mitchell’s production at that time, also resonate in his painting, leveraging the dualistic efficiency of the white field in both background and foreground so as to thwart any possible perception of spatial depth.

Although Self was painted in 1959, practically on the heels of Riopelle’s latest experiments, it still appears enigmatic, like an aside in the painter’s artistic journey. Almost 15 years after the first self-portrait in ink on paper glued to cardboard, with its Cubist-influenced modeling, this new self-referential work (if its unequivocal title is anything to go by) seems to reaffirm his incisive, expressive way of painting with a spatula, enriched by a heightened attention to the relationship between form and space. Like Mitchell, Riopelle exploits the impact of the luminous whitish environment in showcasing the broad yet very dense mass of colour, which he sets off with an imposing “lattice” that skews down and to the right, seemingly as the crux around which this possibly portrait-like composition unfolds.

During this period, in addition to his painting, Riopelle returned to sculptural work, a discipline he had briefly practised in his Automatist years. In this favourable setting, Self subtly addresses the flexible boundary justifying Riopelle’s free passage back and forth between the abstract and the figurative. In this regard, the artist has always refuted the abstract/figurative dialectic, the question of reference being for him more a matter of vision, or even interpretation. Fully embracing this openness, Riopelle would go on to constantly play on both sides of the divide, with equal virtuosity—whatever his preferred medium, be it painting, sculpture, engraving, etc.—right up to his final works, identified particularly by an ever-present goose.

We thank Michel Martin for contributing the above essay, translated from the French. Martin is a former curator of contemporary art at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (1978 – 2008) and was curator of the exhibition Mitchell / Riopelle: Nothing in Moderation, organized by the MNBAQ in 2017.

1. Jean Paul Riopelle to Joan Mitchell, January 10, 1956, Mitchell archives at the Joan Mitchell Foundation, New York.

This work is accompanied by a photograph certificate of authenticity (#268-CA-MH) from Yseult Riopelle and is included as an addendum to Volume 2 in the online catalogue raisonné of the artist's work at http://www.riopelle.ca.

For full cataloguing, essay and images in PDF format, please click here.

Estimate: $600,000 - $800,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information posted, errors and omissions may occur. All bids are subject to our Terms and Conditions of Business. Bidders must ensure they have satisfied themselves with the condition of the Lot prior to bidding. Condition reports are available upon request.

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[ translate ]

AUTO CAS OC QMG RCA SCA
1923 - 2002
Canadian

Self
oil on canvas
signed and on verso signed, titled, dated 1959, inscribed "3906" and "1773" and stamped indistinctly
51 x 38 in, 129.5 x 96.5 cm

CAD

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

PROVENANCE
Galerie Jacques Dubourg, Paris
Galerie Ariel, Paris
Private Collection, Montreal
By descent to a Private Collection, USA
Canadian Post-War & Contemporary Art, Heffel Fine Art Auction House, November 19, 2008, lot 28
Acquired from the above by an Important Private Collection, Montreal

LITERATURE
Yseult Riopelle, Jean Paul Riopelle Catalogue Raisonné, online addendum to Volume 2, 1954 - 1959, 2004, http://www.riopelle.ca
Michel Martin et al., Mitchell / Riopelle: Nothing in Moderation, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, 2017, reproduced page 58

EXHIBITED
Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Quebec City, Mitchell / Riopelle: Nothing in Moderation, October 12, 2017 - January 7, 2018, traveling in 2018 – 2019 to the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, and Fonds Hélène & Édouard Leclerc, Landerneau, France, catalogue #19

Jean Paul Riopelle was a member of the Montreal artist group known as Les Automatistes and signed on to its Refus global manifesto in 1948. Soon after, Riopelle moved to Paris, where he pursued a prominent career, particularly among European artists associated with Lyrical Abstraction, a term encompassing the new abstract practices emanating from the Paris School in the 1950s. Against this backdrop of cultural emulation, a community of American artists also came to Paris to study, hone their skills, or simply immerse themselves more deeply in French existentialism. After forging a deep friendship with Californian Sam Francis, Riopelle became particularly close to American painters, sculptors and literary figures, mainly from the East Coast. Riopelle met Joan Mitchell, a young American painter associated with New York Abstract Expressionism, at a party in the summer of 1955. The two artists soon embarked on a stormy affair that lasted until they broke up in 1979.

Their first years as a couple were intense, both personally and professionally. Riopelle and Mitchell admired each other’s work, and signs of this mutual influence became more or less evident in each artist’s approach. Riopelle made no secret of this fact in his letters to Mitchell, who continued to spend much of the year in New York. “I’m in the studio and I’ve been experimenting with gouache. I don’t know if it worked, but I’m happier because all these big three-by-three-foot gouaches look like your paintings, my love,” he writes.[1] Of course, echoes of all this gouache or oil-on-paper work, which Riopelle admits is perfectly aligned with Mitchell’s production at that time, also resonate in his painting, leveraging the dualistic efficiency of the white field in both background and foreground so as to thwart any possible perception of spatial depth.

Although Self was painted in 1959, practically on the heels of Riopelle’s latest experiments, it still appears enigmatic, like an aside in the painter’s artistic journey. Almost 15 years after the first self-portrait in ink on paper glued to cardboard, with its Cubist-influenced modeling, this new self-referential work (if its unequivocal title is anything to go by) seems to reaffirm his incisive, expressive way of painting with a spatula, enriched by a heightened attention to the relationship between form and space. Like Mitchell, Riopelle exploits the impact of the luminous whitish environment in showcasing the broad yet very dense mass of colour, which he sets off with an imposing “lattice” that skews down and to the right, seemingly as the crux around which this possibly portrait-like composition unfolds.

During this period, in addition to his painting, Riopelle returned to sculptural work, a discipline he had briefly practised in his Automatist years. In this favourable setting, Self subtly addresses the flexible boundary justifying Riopelle’s free passage back and forth between the abstract and the figurative. In this regard, the artist has always refuted the abstract/figurative dialectic, the question of reference being for him more a matter of vision, or even interpretation. Fully embracing this openness, Riopelle would go on to constantly play on both sides of the divide, with equal virtuosity—whatever his preferred medium, be it painting, sculpture, engraving, etc.—right up to his final works, identified particularly by an ever-present goose.

We thank Michel Martin for contributing the above essay, translated from the French. Martin is a former curator of contemporary art at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (1978 – 2008) and was curator of the exhibition Mitchell / Riopelle: Nothing in Moderation, organized by the MNBAQ in 2017.

1. Jean Paul Riopelle to Joan Mitchell, January 10, 1956, Mitchell archives at the Joan Mitchell Foundation, New York.

This work is accompanied by a photograph certificate of authenticity (#268-CA-MH) from Yseult Riopelle and is included as an addendum to Volume 2 in the online catalogue raisonné of the artist's work at http://www.riopelle.ca.

For full cataloguing, essay and images in PDF format, please click here.

Estimate: $600,000 - $800,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information posted, errors and omissions may occur. All bids are subject to our Terms and Conditions of Business. Bidders must ensure they have satisfied themselves with the condition of the Lot prior to bidding. Condition reports are available upon request.

[ translate ]
Sale price
Unlock
Estimate
Unlock
Time, Location
23 Nov 2023
Canada
Auction House
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