Artist biography

Jean-Paul Riopelle born 1923

Painter, lithographer and sculptor, born in Montreal. The first Canadian painter since Morrice to attain widespread international recognition. Studied painting at an early age under Bisson, a local artist, and began as a landscape painter. Later was associated in Montreal with the Automatists led by Borduas. Broke with traditional conventions in 1945 after reading Breton's Le Surréalisme et la Peinture, and started to experiment with improvisatory non-figurative painting. Visited Paris on a Canadian Government Fellowship in 1945 and was in New York 1946. Settled in 1947 in Paris, where in his early days he was encouraged by Miró, Mathieu and Breton. Painted in a tachiste style, chiefly in oil with a palette knife, and also in gouache, watercolour and ink. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie Nina Dausset, Paris, 1949. Stopped painting for a year 1955-6; subsequently began to enlarge and loosen his touch, and sometimes to introduce suggestions of landscape images. Has also made a number of sculptures since 1959 using the lost-wax process. Represented Canada at the 1962 Venice Biennale, being awarded the UNESCO Prize. Lives in Paris.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.633-4