LOT 032

1923 - 2002

Sans titre
oil on canvas, 1966
on verso inscribed "NK-450" and variously and stamped indistinctly
25 5/8 x 18 1/8 in, 65.1 x 46 cm

Estimate: $90,000 - $120,000 CAD

Sold for: $109,250

Preview at:

Galerie Rambert, Paris
Private Collection
Contemporary Art, Christie's London, May 26, 1994, lot 35
A Prominent European Private Collection

Yseult Riopelle, Jean Paul Riopelle Catalogue Raisonné, Volume 4, 1966 - 1971, 2014, reproduced page 121, catalogue #1966.067H.V1966

The 1960s were an extremely productive and effervescent period in the career of Jean Paul Riopelle and a time when he received major national and international recognition. He represented Canada at the 1962 Venice Biennale and won the UNESCO Prize. He had three paintings included in the Art Since 1950 exhibition at the Seattle World’s Fair, and the National Gallery of Canada organized a major retrospective of his works, titled Jean Paul Riopelle: Painting and Sculpture, which then toured to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1963. During this time, he also committed to flexing his creative powers and working in a variety of other mediums, such as drawing, watercolour, printmaking and sculpture.

In 1966, Riopelle’s artistic trajectory took a pivotal turn with the beginning of a significant collaboration with the esteemed gallerist and dealer Aimé Maeght. This collaboration propelled Riopelle into the echelons of distinguished artists represented by Maeght, a roster that included luminaries such as Alexander Calder, Wassily Kandinsky, Marc Chagall, Alberto Giacometti, and Francis Bacon. Riopelle’s inaugural exhibition at the revered Galerie Maeght in Paris marked a seminal moment in his career, solidifying the artist’s standing as a giant of twentieth-century modernism.

During this period, Riopelle’s artistic expression underwent a notable evolution. Departing from the more structured “mosaic” compositions of the 1950s, he embraced a more spontaneous and liberated approach to painting, infusing his canvases with bold gestural abstraction. These works became dynamic spaces where colour, form and texture combined to generate a captivating symphony of movement and energy.

An exemplary piece from this transformative period is Sans titre (1966). Here, Riopelle’s mastery is evident as he deftly wields his palette knife to create vibrant, rainbow-hued swathes across the canvas. The juxtaposition of bright blues in the upper right corner draws the viewer’s gaze. Meanwhile, the expansive swathe of white along the upper edge provides a sense of structure amidst the exuberant chaos. Sans titre commands attention, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in its captivating beauty and compelling them to revisit it time and again.

Estimate: $90,000 - $120,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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