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The French-Canadian painter Riopelle was one of the artists included in the 1951 exhibition in Paris, 'Véhémences Confrontées' (Opposing Forces). He had been living in Paris since 1947, and brought to his work both a North American background and a distinctly European sensibility. In the early 1950s Riopelle had experimented with dripping and splashing paint, creating densely covered canvases in vivid colours. He went on to develop a distinctive technique using a palette knife to apply the paint in quick, sharp strokes all over the canvas. This resulted in a thickly worked surface, or 'impasto'. This painting was executed in this way. The marks are suggestive of the painter's action in applying the paint.

September 2004