“My paintings are somewhat the repercussions of my relationship with reality, with nature, with what I see around me. They are testimonies of what I was able to perceive and feel even if, when I paint, it no longer has anything to do with my initial ideas.”
– Jean Paul Riopelle. Taken from René Viau, “Interview with Jean Paul Riopelle”, catalogue of the exhibition Jean Paul Riopelle, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, November 26, 1991 to January 19, 1992, p. 3.
Riopelle at Taché Manor in Montmagny, september 1991. Photo: Bruno Massenet.
Jean Paul Riopelle (1923-2002) 20 Years Later: More Alive Than Ever
This Saturday, March 12, 2022, will mark the 20th anniversary of the passing of one of the 20th century’s greatest artists: Jean Paul Riopelle.
A free creator, globe-trotter and nature lover, Riopelle has bequeathed the world an impressive artistic heritage that continues to shine internationally.
20 years after his death, and as Canada and the world prepare to celebrate in the coming months the centenary of this artist who continues to fascinate and inspire new generations of artists, Riopelle is more present than ever all around us.
And as Riopelle told René Viau at the twilight of his life, even if he is no longer with us, his singular vision of the world continues to live through his works.
7 Fingers trapeze artist Marie Lebot gives the public a foretaste of the centenary celebrations with an opening number inspired by snow geese, a recurring theme in Riopelle’s oeuvre, during the unveiling of Riopelle’s centenary program in Montreal on December 8, 2021. Photo: Paul Ducharme.
Riopelle’s Centenary: A Year of Celebrations
From circus to theatre, classical music, classroom programs and major museum exhibitions… As Jean Paul Riopelle’s centenary celebrations will be officially launched this fall, the whole world prepares to celebrate in a unique way the legendary vision and oeuvre of one of the greatest Canadian artists of all time.
Featuring multidisciplinary partnerships with prestigious Canadian and international cultural organizations, these international festivities’ rich and highly diversified program was unveiled with great fanfare in Montreal last December during a large-scale event during which artistic performances gave a foretaste of these great celebrations.
Be part of these five seasons of celebrations starting in the fall of 2022!
The new Espace Riopelle pavilion, made possible thanks to the historic donation of founding members of the Riopelle Foundation, will be constructed at the heart of the Plains of Abraham, in Quebec City, and will offer breathtaking views of the St. Lawrence River.
Image: Layout sketches, MNBAQ.
A New Home for Riopelle
In the presence of many guests of honour, including Quebec Premier François Legault, the Riopelle Foundation recently announced an exceptional donation to the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) with a total estimated value of more than $120 million – the most important donation ever announced in the history of Quebec philanthropy.
This incredible donation includes well over 60 prestigious Jean Paul Riopelle artworks, evaluated to be worth over $100 million in total, as well as $20 million in cash to enable the creation of a new world-class pavilion as part of the MNBAQ’s complex.
Estimated at $42.5 million, Espace Riopelle will be nestled at the heart of the majestic Plains of Abraham, in Quebec’s capital city. The Government of Quebec will also contribute $20 million to this great legacy project, and the MNBAQ Foundation will add the remaining $2.5 million.
The Riopelle Foundation salutes the boundless generosity of the philanthropists who have made the realization of this project possible: Michael J. Audain, Yseult Riopelle, Pierre Lassonde, André Desmarais and France Chrétien Desmarais.
The peak of Riopelle’s centenary celebrations, the inauguration of Espace Riopelle is set for 2025.
Quebec Premier François Legault, Culture Minister Nathalie Roy and MNBAQ Board Chair Christiane Germain, along with the generous philanthropists behind this historic donation: Yseult Riopelle, Michael J. Audain, Pierre Lassonde, France Chrétien Desmarais and André Desmarais.
Public libraries across Quebec have received quite a gift over the past few weeks! Hibou éditeurs and Yseult Riopelle, author of the Catalogue raisonné de Jean Paul Riopelle and daughter of the artist, donated 40 lots of the Catalogue raisonné to 34 public libraries and five public library networks across Quebec.
Each lot, valued at $1,600 each, includes a total of six volumes, i.e. volumes 1 to 5 of the Catalogue raisonné de Jean Paul Riopelle covering all of the artist’s oeuvre from the 1940s to the 1970s, as well as the Catalogue des estampes.
The Riopelle Foundation applauds this gesture, which will help promote the artist’s invaluable legacy amongst the Quebec youth. As we prepare for Riopelle’s centenary celebrations, set to begin this fall, Yseult Riopelle is offering a priceless gift to the entire population of the artist’s native province.
Yseult Riopelle, author of the Catalogue raisonné de Jean Paul Riopelle, co-founder of the Riopelle Foundation, commissioner emerita of Riopelle’s centenary celebrations, and daughter of the artist.
Watch the interview conducted with her to mark the official launch of Volume 5 in 2021 by clicking this link.
Paul-Émile Borduas, Sans Titre, 1959. Oil on canvas, 73,2 x 60,4 cm. Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Quebec City (2021.187). Donated by Michael J. Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa.
Borduas & Riopelle Reunited at MNBAQ
Made possible thanks to an exceptional donation of works by Borduas given to MNBAQ by Riopelle Foundation chairman and co-founder Michael J. Audain and his wife Yoshiko Karasawa, the new exhibition Les énergies latentes: Paul-Émile Borduas au présent is currently presented at the Musée des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ).
A great master of Quebec art, Borduas had a profound influence on Riopelle at the beginning of his career and taught him at the École du meuble de Montréal. They were both linked to the Automatiste Movement and co-signed the 𝑅𝑒𝑓𝑢𝑠 𝑔𝑙𝑜𝑏𝑎𝑙 manifesto, which had a profound impact on Quebec society at the end of the 1940s.
The painter and his pupil are once again reunited thanks to this exhibition which showcases the works of Borduas from the Audain and Karasawa collection in dialogue with contemporary and current artists, including Riopelle, but also Nadia Myre, Michaëlle Sergile, Michel Campeau, Alain Paiement and Dominique Blain.
Presented at MNBAQ until April 24, 2022. Don’t miss it!
Riopelle Foundation executive director Manon Gauthier has also agreed to act as the festival’s ambassador as a member of its “40 Club”. This first collaboration lays the foundations for a more in-depth partnership with FIFA in view of Riopelle’s centenary celebrations in 2023, the details of which will be revealed later.
A fascinating portrait of Joan Mitchell, the film recounts the journey of one of the greatest American painters of the post-war period and one of the rare women to establish herself in the male-dominated world of abstract art. Her work was recognized and admired very early on, both in New York in the 1950s and in Paris, where she had a passionate love affair with Jean Paul Riopelle for more than two decades, and where she died in 1992. She developed a unique body of work and is known as a major artist of the twentieth century. She is also one of the few female figures of the great post-war American abstract art movement, alongside Pollock, Motherwell, Kline, Kooning and Rauschenberg.
The film, which is part of FIFA’s official selection – feature-length films, will be screened at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec in Quebec City on March 19, and at the Cinéma du Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal on March 26, 2022.
As a lead-up to the 100th anniversary of the birth of artist Jean Paul Riopelle in 2023, the Riopelle Foundation and Concordia University have teamed up for an ambitious project: to create a digital oral archive that will deepen our understanding of and share knowledge about the life and career of this world-renowned artist. This project, led by the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling (COHDS), aims to collect stories that contribute to Riopelle’s life story through the voices of those who knew him or encountered him, and to make these stories accessible across multiple channels.
COHDS is currently collecting stories from family members, friends and colleagues who knew and worked with Jean Paul Riopelle during his lifetime, as well as artists who were influenced and inspired by his work. Stories and anecdotes about brief personal encounters with Riopelle are also of interest.
“Riopelle: The Call of Northern Territories and Indigenous Cultures” which pursues its Canadian tour at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery of Fredericton, New Brunswick, starting April 2, 2022 after successful showings at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Audain Art Museum of Whistler, British Columbia.