LOT 039

1923 - 2002

Portail no. 2
oil on canvas, 1957
signed and on verso titled Portail (2) on a label, inscribed B-6 / BH6 / Hebert / 2 and stamped faintly
18 x 21 1/2 in, 45.7 x 54.6 cm

Estimate: $150,000 - $250,000 CAD

Sold for: $361,250

Preview at:

Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal
Private Collection, Toronto

Yseult Riopelle, Jean Paul Riopelle Catalogue Raisonné, Volume 2, 1954 – 1959, 2004, reproduced page 281, catalogue #1957.141H.1957


National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Jean Paul Riopelle: Painting and Sculpture, January 10 - February 3, 1963, traveling to the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Art Gallery of Toronto and Phillips Gallery, Washington, D.C., catalogue #37

n this 1957 work, whose title translates as "Portal," three formidable red and blue blocks push inwards from the edges of the canvas. The colourful collision in the centre of the image evokes the sense of an entryway, bracketed by segments of paint which interlace to spawn a swirling central mass. The lower right quadrant acts as a pressure valve for the composition, with vivid purple strokes leading the eye into an expanse of white.

For Jean Paul Riopelle, painting was primarily about feeling. Through intuitive, process-based searching, he would arrive at a completed picture. His objective was not to attain a specific effect but to paint without intention or hesitation. Riopelle described entering a flow state in which he would sometimes complete the picture in a single furious breath, staying awake all night if necessary. In the act of creation, Riopelle would step through a portal into another dimension outside of time. Upon his return, there would be a remnant of vigorously applied colour, a window left for the viewer to glimpse into the space created and inhabited by the artist.

Estimate: $150,000 - $250,000 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.