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LOT 015

Jean Paul Riopelle

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AUTO CAS OC QMG RCA SCA
1923 - 2002
Canadian

Sans titre
oil on canvas
signed and on verso dated 1962 on the Galerie Dresdnere label, inscribed "Laing" on the Arthur Lenars & Cie., Paris shipping label and with the Laing inventory #1408 and stamped Douane Centrale, Exportation Paris
28 1/2 x 39 in, 72.4 x 99.1 cm

CAD

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

PROVENANCE
Acquired directly from the Artist in Paris by G. Blair Laing, Toronto, circa 1962
Laing Galleries, Toronto
Carl Grant, Toronto
Galerie Dresdnere, Toronto
Private Collection, Toronto
Canadian Post-War & Contemporary Art, Heffel Fine Art Auction House, November 25, 2010, lot 56
Acquired from the above by an Important Private Collection, Montreal

LITERATURE
Karen Wilkin, The Automatists: Then and Now, Galerie Dresdnere, 1986, reproduced, unpaginated
Yseult Riopelle, Jean Paul Riopelle Catalogue Raisonné, Volume 3, 1960 - 1965, 2009, reproduced page 157, catalogue #1962.022H.V1962

EXHIBITED
Galerie Dresdnere, Toronto, The Automatists: Then and Now, May 1 - 21, 1986, catalogue #41

Sometimes we can reconstruct the whole provenance of a painting by looking at the back of it. On the verso of Jean Paul Riopelle’s Sans titre there is an old label from Arthur Lenars, a Paris shipper also used by Paul-Émile Borduas. On this label appears the name Laing in large letters. Art dealer Blair Laing had already been in the habit of visiting the studios of Canadian artists living in Paris. He acquired the painting directly from Riopelle. There is another label, this time from Galerie Dresdnere in Toronto, including the date 1962. It is a fact that this painting was included in a show at Dresdnere entitled The Automatists; Then and Now, in May 1986. It was even reproduced in the catalogue published on that occasion. This is what we call a solid provenance! But what about the recto of Sans titre?

Riopelle in the 1960s considerably transformed his mosaic style that had been typical in the 1950s. As this Sans titre makes clear, the strokes of the painting knife are no longer equal, no longer oriented in a predictable manner, and seem much freer, more chaotic and impulsive. It is as if the whole composition has overthrown a tendency towards the informal. The result is more moving, because it gives the impression that so many risks were taken during the painting’s elaboration. The composition retains something of a landscape, but also of a catastrophe – some shattering of structures due to mysterious hidden forces, like in an earthquake. On the other hand, the colour saves everything here, the white and the red in particular imposing a kind of order after all.

One has to realize the importance that the discovery of the late paintings of Claude Monet had for Riopelle. Contrary to Pablo Picasso, where form is always prevalent, Monet, at the end of his life, and losing his eyesight – he was suffering from cataracts and was very wary of any operation being done on his eyes – was struggling with the paint medium, with la matière (matter). His last paintings are often difficult to read, even if they represent one aspect or the other of his gardens in Giverny. They look almost abstract, and for that reason were very appealing to abstract painters like Riopelle, or Joan Mitchell and their American friends.

This is a lesson that was never lost by Riopelle. Painting with the palette knife, he was introducing, if not a kind of blindness in the painting process, then at least successive moments of occlusion followed by moments of revelation. I am referring to the very technique of spreading the paint medium with a knife. You hide the effect at the very moment that you produce it. Working in that manner, Riopelle had to give central attention to the paint medium, to la matière. It became more and more prevalent in his painting.

The joy of painting was to get out of the formless painting medium, if not a kind of order, at least the feeling of movement, of direction and of irrepressible energy. Follow the red accents in this Sans titre, and you feel the control the painter had on the totality of the surface. With Riopelle, conscious control is never opposite to freedom of expression, even to danger. On the contrary, it is when danger is at its maximum that the conscious control is at its best. Needless to say, each painting demanded his total commitment, and could be done in one session of intense awareness of what was happening on the canvas. The result is always surprising, and unmistakably Riopelle.

We thank the late François-Marc Gagnon of the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art, Concordia University, for contributing the above essay in 2010.

Estimate: $250,000 - $350,000 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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23 Nov 2023
Canada
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[ translate ]

AUTO CAS OC QMG RCA SCA
1923 - 2002
Canadian

Sans titre
oil on canvas
signed and on verso dated 1962 on the Galerie Dresdnere label, inscribed "Laing" on the Arthur Lenars & Cie., Paris shipping label and with the Laing inventory #1408 and stamped Douane Centrale, Exportation Paris
28 1/2 x 39 in, 72.4 x 99.1 cm

CAD

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

PROVENANCE
Acquired directly from the Artist in Paris by G. Blair Laing, Toronto, circa 1962
Laing Galleries, Toronto
Carl Grant, Toronto
Galerie Dresdnere, Toronto
Private Collection, Toronto
Canadian Post-War & Contemporary Art, Heffel Fine Art Auction House, November 25, 2010, lot 56
Acquired from the above by an Important Private Collection, Montreal

LITERATURE
Karen Wilkin, The Automatists: Then and Now, Galerie Dresdnere, 1986, reproduced, unpaginated
Yseult Riopelle, Jean Paul Riopelle Catalogue Raisonné, Volume 3, 1960 - 1965, 2009, reproduced page 157, catalogue #1962.022H.V1962

EXHIBITED
Galerie Dresdnere, Toronto, The Automatists: Then and Now, May 1 - 21, 1986, catalogue #41

Sometimes we can reconstruct the whole provenance of a painting by looking at the back of it. On the verso of Jean Paul Riopelle’s Sans titre there is an old label from Arthur Lenars, a Paris shipper also used by Paul-Émile Borduas. On this label appears the name Laing in large letters. Art dealer Blair Laing had already been in the habit of visiting the studios of Canadian artists living in Paris. He acquired the painting directly from Riopelle. There is another label, this time from Galerie Dresdnere in Toronto, including the date 1962. It is a fact that this painting was included in a show at Dresdnere entitled The Automatists; Then and Now, in May 1986. It was even reproduced in the catalogue published on that occasion. This is what we call a solid provenance! But what about the recto of Sans titre?

Riopelle in the 1960s considerably transformed his mosaic style that had been typical in the 1950s. As this Sans titre makes clear, the strokes of the painting knife are no longer equal, no longer oriented in a predictable manner, and seem much freer, more chaotic and impulsive. It is as if the whole composition has overthrown a tendency towards the informal. The result is more moving, because it gives the impression that so many risks were taken during the painting’s elaboration. The composition retains something of a landscape, but also of a catastrophe – some shattering of structures due to mysterious hidden forces, like in an earthquake. On the other hand, the colour saves everything here, the white and the red in particular imposing a kind of order after all.

One has to realize the importance that the discovery of the late paintings of Claude Monet had for Riopelle. Contrary to Pablo Picasso, where form is always prevalent, Monet, at the end of his life, and losing his eyesight – he was suffering from cataracts and was very wary of any operation being done on his eyes – was struggling with the paint medium, with la matière (matter). His last paintings are often difficult to read, even if they represent one aspect or the other of his gardens in Giverny. They look almost abstract, and for that reason were very appealing to abstract painters like Riopelle, or Joan Mitchell and their American friends.

This is a lesson that was never lost by Riopelle. Painting with the palette knife, he was introducing, if not a kind of blindness in the painting process, then at least successive moments of occlusion followed by moments of revelation. I am referring to the very technique of spreading the paint medium with a knife. You hide the effect at the very moment that you produce it. Working in that manner, Riopelle had to give central attention to the paint medium, to la matière. It became more and more prevalent in his painting.

The joy of painting was to get out of the formless painting medium, if not a kind of order, at least the feeling of movement, of direction and of irrepressible energy. Follow the red accents in this Sans titre, and you feel the control the painter had on the totality of the surface. With Riopelle, conscious control is never opposite to freedom of expression, even to danger. On the contrary, it is when danger is at its maximum that the conscious control is at its best. Needless to say, each painting demanded his total commitment, and could be done in one session of intense awareness of what was happening on the canvas. The result is always surprising, and unmistakably Riopelle.

We thank the late François-Marc Gagnon of the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art, Concordia University, for contributing the above essay in 2010.

Estimate: $250,000 - $350,000 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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