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100th Anniversary of the Birth of Jean Paul Riopelle (1923-2002)
Riopelle’s Centenary Spreads its Wings in France

The official work of Jean Paul Riopelle’s centenary celebrations:
Point de rencontre – Quintette (polyptych), 1963. Oil on canvas, 428 x 564 cm (5 panels).
Centre national des arts plastiques, Paris. Inv. FNAC 90069.
© Estate of Jean Paul Riopelle / Copyright Visuals Arts – CARCC / ADAGP (2023). Photo MMFA, Jean-François Brière.

PARIS, April 12, 2023 – Featuring a multitude of artistic disciplines, the celebrations of Jean Paul Riopelle’s centenary will extend across the French-speaking world, including to France, where the renowned Canadian artist spent nearly half his life, starting in the summer of 2023 and continuing throughout the coming year.

While the multidisciplinary festivities are already successfully underway in Canada, the Riopelle Foundation, which is orchestrating the ambitious program, is today announcing a series of partnerships with prestigious French and European cultural institutions to promote Riopelle’s Oeuvre and artistic legacy throughout France and the world as part of the celebrations honouring the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Montreal-born artist.

The Fondation Maeght, the Centre Pompidou and TV5MONDE will contribute, in the coming months, to allow the French and international public to discover or rediscover the work of Riopelle, whose impressive body of work of nearly 7,000 works has left an indelible mark on the history of art, and continues to inspire current and future generations of artists around the world.

 These partnerships are in addition to the many projects currently underway in Canada, notably in the fields of classical music (Riopelle Symphonic), theatre (Robert Lepage), circus (The 7 Fingers), and cinema (FIFA), as well as the participation of major Canadian museums (Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, National Gallery of Canada, etc.), to name but a few.

The announcement of this first European component, to which other projects will soon be added, took place at the Canadian Cultural Centre located in the Canadian Embassy in Paris in the presence of numerous dignitaries and guests of honour, including Canada’s Ambassador to France, His Excellency the Honourable Stéphane Dion, Patron of Honour of the celebrations in France, as well as partners and representatives of the Riopelle Foundation, notably France Chrétien Desmarais, C.M., co-chair of the centenary celebrations, and the Honourable Serge Joyal, P.C., O.C., O.Q., FRSC, Ad.E., Canadian Senator and founding member of the Riopelle Foundation.

Riopelle, around 1956. Photo taken from the archives of the Catalogue raisonné de Jean Paul Riopelle, directed by Yseult Riopelle.

Fondation Maeght: A Riopelle Season in Saint-Paul de Vence

 From July 1st to November 12, 2023, the Fondation Marguerite et Aimé Maeght will present the monographic exhibition Jean Paul Riopelle – Parfums d’ateliers, entirely devoted to Riopelle. The first institution of its kind in France for modern and contemporary art, inaugurated in 1964 by André Malraux, the Fondation Maeght now holds more than 13,000 works by leading artists such as Miró, Braque, Bonnard, Calder, Chagall, Giacometti, and Riopelle. Cherishing this unique and inspiring place where art, architecture and nature interact in perfect harmony, Riopelle has had a privileged relationship with this renowned cultural institution in the South of France since the 1960s.

The exhibition, under the patronage of His Excellency the Honourable Stéphane Dion, Canada’s Ambassador to France, will explore the artist’s work as never before thanks to the curatorial guidance of his daughter, Yseult Riopelle, who is acting as guest curator, and to numerous exclusive public and private loans. The exhibition will feature more than 180 works, including both landmark and previously unpublished works, and will offer a journey through the various techniques used by the artist. A new approach, a journey to the heart of the works produced in the various studios that Riopelle occupied on both sides of the Atlantic during his long and prolific career. This exhibition will also be the occasion for a summer program dedicated to the artist: concerts, outdoor films (including a collaboration with the International Festival of Films on Art), workshops for children… and will also mark the return of dance at the Fondation Maeght with Passages by Noé Soulier in sets that Riopelle himself had imagined for Merce Cunningham in 1967.

Centre Pompidou: Exhibition in Tribute to Riopelle

The Centre Pompidou, a leading cultural institution in Paris that welcomes more than 3 million visitors each year, will offer the public of the Musée national d’art moderne a display of works specially selected for the occasion from its permanent collections, the richest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe and one of the two largest in the world. The museum’s collection of essential works by the artist includes three paintings: Chevreuse (1954), La Mi-été chez Georges (1973) and Mitchikanabikong (1975), as well as four works on paper, including the monumental Feu vert (1960).

This ensemble, restored for the occasion, will be joined by several works from other collections that are rarely presented to the public. This tribute exhibition, presented in late 2023 and early 2024 and curated by Christian Briend, curator at the Musée national d’art moderne and head of the modern collections department, will recall the importance of the artist, who was intimately linked to the Parisian art scene from 1946, the date of his first stay in the capital. It will also allow the French public to better appreciate later works by Riopelle, a major figure of gestural abstraction in the second half of the 20th century whose last exhibition at the Centre Pompidou dates back to 1981.

TV5MONDE: Official World Broadcaster of Riopelle’s Centenary Celebrations

TV5MONDE, a French-language television network present in 198 countries and 421 million households across the globe, will be the official world broadcaster of the artist’s centenary celebrations. The cultural network, one of the largest in the world, will launch a promotional campaign on its airwaves as well as special programming including interviews on the program L’invité hosted by Patrick Simonin, as well as special remote broadcast of its weekly cultural show, 400 millions de critiques, which will produce three one-hour programs in the fall at the Fondation Maeght, where the Jean Paul Riopelle – Parfums d’ateliers exhibition will be presented at the same time. TV5MONDE will also exhibit, on its French-language online platform TV5MONDEplus, the Riopelle Short Films polyptych, featuring five short films made by young, up-and-coming Quebec filmmakers in collaboration with L’institut national de l’image et du son (L’INIS) and recently premiered at the 41st edition of the International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA). The duration of the festivities until 2024 will allow the channel to deploy a visibility of the various highlights hosted within the prestigious French and European cultural institutions.

2025-2026: A New Wing Entirely Dedicated to Riopelle at MNBAQ

The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) is writing a new page in its history with the creation of the future Espace Riopelle. Thanks to an innovative architectural concept by Les architectes fabg, selected in the fall of 2022 by a jury chaired by French architect Dominique Jakob of the firm Jakob + MacFarlane, this transformative project will create a distinctive building within MNBAQ’s museum complex that will showcase the work of Jean Paul Riopelle in the heart of the historic Plains of Abraham in Quebec City.

Espace Riopelle is a major project, the result of a unique partnership between the Quebec government, MNBAQ and the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation. A complementary contribution from the City of Québec will also allow for the creation of a brand new room dedicated to the monumental fresco entitled L’Hommage à Rosa Luxemburg (1992), a narrative sequence of 30 paintings considered a masterpiece encompassing Riopelle’s artistic vision.

This innovative future pavilion will propose, in echo to the artist’s works, an experience of intimacy and introspection encouraging one to focus on the present moment, the sensations and emotions felt. The museography will integrate innovative devices to awaken all of the human senses including a permanent installation that will allow visitors to experience Riopelle’s art through the sense of smell, co-created in collaboration with Chartier World Lab. The inauguration of Espace Riopelle, scheduled for late 2025 and early 2026, will be the culmination of the celebrations surrounding the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jean Paul Riopelle.

It will permanently house the largest public collection of Riopelle’s works in the world, enhanced in December 2021 by a historic donation of over $100 million worth of works from patrons associated with the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation.

The future Espace Riopelle at MNBAQ
Photo: Les architectes fabg (2023)

Quotes

“From his first stay in Paris in the 1940s, Jean Paul Riopelle built bridges between his native land, Canada, and his adopted land, France, where he would spend nearly 40 years of his life, including some of his most prolific and influential creative periods. His work is thus a true link between the cultures of our two nations. It was therefore important for the Riopelle Foundation to include an important and ambitious French component to the official programming of the artist’s centenary celebrations. This official program is intended to reflect Riopelle’s work: rich, diversified and colourful. Through the projects and partnerships we are proudly unveiling today, all of France and Canada are joining forces to commemorate the immense legacy of this great master who brings us together and inspires us.”

– Manon Gauthier, Executive Director of the Riopelle Foundation and General Commissioner of the artist’s centenary celebrations

“The idea of the exhibition Jean Paul Riopelle – Parfums d’ateliers, presented at the Fondation Maeght starting July 1st, 2023, is to show less obvious facets of Riopelle’s work. What we are going to show, notably the collages, the pastels, the charcoals, the sanguines, the tapestries – and even string figures! – are works that are relatively unknown in Europe. It is therefore in a new light that the public will be invited to discover or rediscover Riopelle’s work through this exhibition.”

– Yseult Riopelle, daughter of the artist, guest curator of the exhibition Jean Paul Riopelle – Parfums d’ateliers, author of the Catalogue raisonné of Jean Paul Riopelle and honorary commissioner of the artist’s centenary celebrations

“Jean Paul Riopelle was a constitutive figure of the post-war French art scene, and remains today as an essential part of it. Today, he is an essential link between Canadian and French cultures. The Musée national d’art moderne- Centre de création industrielle is delighted with the celebrations organized by the Riopelle Foundation on the occasion of the centenary of the artist’s birth. Our collections, with seven works by the artist, cover twenty years of his artistic career, and the tribute exhibition on our premises demonstrates how his. Oeuvre remains alive and unique today; a continuing source of admiration and astonishment.”

– Xavier Rey, Director of the Musée national d’art moderne-Centre de création industrielle, Centre Pompidou

“TV5MONDE’s French-speaking DNA makes it a natural partner for Jean Paul Riopelle’s centenary celebrations. We are happy and proud to be the privileged medium of this great artistic adventure, which establishes a remarkable bridge between Canada and France.”

– Yves Bigot, President and CEO of TV5MONDE

“A unique bond unites Riopelle with the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. MNBAQ is grateful and enthusiastic about this remarkable and unprecedented legacy, which will mark the history of patronage in Canada, and is proud to offer the artist a new home. This project will significantly shape the future of our institution. The notion of the land, which is inseparable from Quebec’s identity and the Oeuvre of Jean Paul Riopelle, is already at the heart of this inspiration. This new platform for interaction will serve MNBAQ’s mission by encouraging new dialogues between Riopelle’s work and several artists from all disciplines. The new building will also revisit MNBAQ’s overall experience to make it even more memorable. A sensory and emotional approach will define the adventure of the future Espace Riopelle, making it a true object of collective pride and a privileged international showcase at the crossroads of which experts and institutions from around the world will be called upon to collaborate on Riopelle’s work. It will definitely be a must-see place for art lovers from the four corners of the globe when it opens in 2025-2026!”

– Jean-Luc Murray, General Manager of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ)

Unprecedented Celebrations for a Canadian Artist

Orchestrated by the Riopelle Foundation, the festivities surrounding the 100th anniversary of Riopelle’s birth offer a unique opportunity for the general public around the world to reconnect with this Canadian artist who has profoundly marked the history of art. Offering a wide variety of disciplines, from classical music (Riopelle Symphonic) to circus (The 7 Fingers), theatre (Robert Lepage), cinema (FIFA), literature (Pierre Landry, art historian), gastronomy (Montréal en Lumière and Toqué!) and cultural mediation (Riopelle Dialogues Canada-wide program), as well as the participation of museums (MNBAQ, National Gallery of Canada, Centre Pompidou, etc.) and educational institutions (Concordia University, Riopelle Studio educational program), the centenary celebrations’ official program is giving rise to a multitude of cultural projects in Canada and around the world. Under the theme “One With Nature“, a host of prestigious partners contribute to making these festivities – the most important ever organized for a Canadian visual artist – a resounding success, spreading Canadian talent to the four corners of the globe and inspiring new generations of artists through Riopelle’s immense artistic legacy.

Discover the full centenary celebrations program at www.fondationriopelle.com/centenary

Riopelle: An Ambassador of Canadian Art to the World

Jean Paul Riopelle (October 7, 1923 – March 12, 2002) was a Canadian painter, printmaker, and sculptor. From his birthplace, Montreal, to his 40 years in France, to his travels and adventures to the farthest reaches of our world, and to his return to his native Quebec in the last decades of his life, Riopelle’s artistic and cultural legacy extends to the four corners of the globe, under the admiring eye of many collectors, museum institutions, and through the archives and treasures that he disseminated throughout his life.

Co-signatory of two historic manifestos, Ruptures inaugurales (1947), in France, along with Henri Pastoureau and André Breton, amongst others; and Refus Global (1948), along with other key figures of the Automatiste movement, which had a profound impact on Quebec society in the mid-20th century, his indelible mark largely transcends the boundaries of art.

About the Riopelle Foundation

Conceived by Riopelle in the 1960s and founded in 2019 by a group of Canadian philanthropists, the Riopelle Foundation’s mission is to celebrate and perpetuate the vision and Oeuvre of Jean Paul Riopelle in Canada and around the world, to support and inspire emerging visual artists, to encourage creative exploration and experimentation, and to promote teaching and learning. The Foundation also acts as a reference and analysis centre for documentation, publication and discourse on Riopelle’s work.

www.riopellefoundation.com

Facebook: facebook.com/FondationRiopelle   |   Twitter: @FdnJPRiopelle
Instagram: @fdnriopelle   |   LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/fondationriopelle

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Source:                     Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation

Information:

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emmanuelle@tambourmajor.com

For Canadian media:
Joshua Knelman
Artful Strategies / Communications
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