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LOT 403

1923 - 2002

Sans titre
oil on paper on canvas, 1959
29 1/8 x 42 1/4 in, 74 x 107.3 cm

Available for post auction sale. CAD

PRICE: $85,250

Preview at: Heffel Montreal

Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York
Robert Miller Gallery, New York
Galerie de Bellefeuille, Montreal
Private Collection, Montreal

Pierre Schneider, Riopelle: Signes mêlés, Maeght Editeur, 1972, catalogue #88, page 84
Yseult Riopelle, Jean Paul Riopelle Catalogue Raisonné, Volume II, 1954 - 1959, 2004, reproduced page 404, catalogue #1959.010P.1959

Robert Miller Gallery, New York, Jean Paul Riopelle, March 31 - April 30, 2005
Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, Jean Paul Riopelle, 2007

Jean Paul Riopelle would have been 100 years old this fall. Today, the great Quebec master is celebrated everywhere, with exhibitions in Canada, Romania, and at the Fondation Maeght and the Centre Pompidou in France, where he lived and created for many years. This 1959 Sans titre work on paper comes from the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York and dates from one of Riopelle’s most fruitful periods, both creatively and in terms of his then resounding reputation.

Sans titre is a medium-format matte work, an oil on paper on canvas, the result of Riopelle’s 1956 technical experimentation, initially painting with gouache on paper, the medium a thinner, more ductile material used by his partner at the time, the American painter Joan Mitchell. His works from this period, which came after his various Eskimo Mask paintings, were initially in black and white, before evolving towards muted, exploded colours (the Sous le mythe de Gitksan series) and then muted tones, as in his work Où sont les belles ombres (circa 1956).

In 1957, the composition of his paintings on paper was still inspired by nature and the North, but became denser and then then wilder, like his magnificent Jaillissement (1958), before transmuting in 1959 into a series of colourful, gestural arrangements, a clear return to the Gitksan series, such as our penetrating, grave and solemn Sans titre.

Darker than 1959's Gitksan, this veritable twin brother features the same more or less thickly brushed drips and volumes . But in this abstract depiction of an imaginary landscape, the carmine reds, pastel and beard blues, fern greens and broom pinks are superimposed by broad swathes of black that clearly outweigh the blues of Gitksan. They lend the work a magnificently tragic tone, a touch of romanticism, sensitivity and emotion that may well stem from a rather intense period in the artist’s ever-changing life. In this oil, we sense all of Riopelle’s vitality and free gesturality. His energy, but also his ardour and torment, contributing to a vibrant work of unique character.

We thank Montreal visual arts journalist Éric Clément for contributing the above essay, translated from the French.

Please note: This work is accompanied by a photograph certificate of authenticity (#1959.010P) from Yseult Riopelle

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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