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Jean Paul Riopelle
L'automne 2015 - 1ère séance Vente en salle

Lot # 059

Jean Paul Riopelle
AUTO CAS OC QMG RCA SCA 1923 - 2002 Canadian

Sans titre
oil on canvas 1956
signed and on verso signed, dated circa 1956 on various labels, inscribed with the Laing inventory #1459 twice and "Laing" indistinctly on a partial Arthur Lénars & Cie, Agents en douane, Paris, shippin and stamped Jules Loeb Collection No. 71 and with the Douane (customs) stamp
36 x 78 7/8 pouces  91.4 x 200.3cm

Acquired directly from the Artist in Paris by G. Blair Laing, Laing Galleries, Toronto, April 1959
Mr. & Mrs. Jules Loeb, Lucerne, Quebec, acquired from the above June 29, 1959, then moving to Toronto
Marlborough-Godard, Toronto, 1979

The Mr. and Mrs. Jules Loeb Collection, National Gallery of Canada, 1970
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Milles plateaux, 1980, page 616
Yseult Riopelle, Jean Paul Riopelle Catalogue Raisonné, Volume 4, 1966 - 1971, 2014, reproduced pages 66 - 67, catalogue #1956.124H.1956

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, The Mr. and Mrs. Jules Loeb Collection, September 1, 1970 - October 15, 1971, catalogue #40
Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Riopelle: The Glory of Abstraction, May 15 - August 2, 2010

The provenance for Sans titre, painted in 1956, indicates it was part of the collection of Mr. & Mrs. Jules Loeb. Jules and Fay Loeb were exceptional collectors of Canadian art. They acquired the works of Canadian artists, from Cornelius Krieghoff to Jean Paul Riopelle. The collection attracted the attention of Pierre Théberge, then director of the National Gallery of Canada, and in 1970, he put together an exhibition featuring works from the renowned Loeb collection that traveled to major galleries across Canada.
The Riopelle painting we are featuring now at Heffel was an important part of that exhibition and shows Riopelle at the peak of his creative power. The format first attracts the viewer's attention - it is elongated, but not too narrow, a little bit as a marine composition would be. A marine, as one knows, is a particular type of landscape that depicts the water's edge, or a seascape with boats, or anything else related to the ocean and maritime life. A view of the beach with houses or people facing the sea is often elongated like this painting by Riopelle.
But on the other hand, Sans titre, bearing no suggestion of depth, seems to contradict the very idea of landscape. Here everything is on a flat plane and has a rather tactile feeling instead of an optic one - meaning that we are inclined to touch what he has put in front of us. The French philosopher Gilles Deleuze and the psychotherapist Félix Guattari proposed to contrast what they called a “haptic space,” which can be visual and tactile at the same time, to an “optic space,” which is exclusively visual. The word “haptic” comes from the Greek, haptikos - able to grasp or perceive; from haptein - to grasp, sense, perceive. The idea of a haptic space applies very well to our Riopelle painting. One can follow the movement of a curve here and there on the surface, as if he had tried to contain the dynamic of the strokes of the palette knife inside the area of the painting. But one cannot read any hint of a view in perspective, as we would do in a figurative painting depicting a marine scene.
It is this double feature of format and tactility that defines Riopelle's painting of the 1950s, rather than the “mosaic” shallow spatial aspect due to the juxtaposition of the strokes of the palette knife. And it is these two features that separate Riopelle from the American painting of the same period, which was much more visual and not bound by a specific format issued from the European tradition. One would not think to define the lines in a Jackson Pollock painting as “tactile.” On the contrary, they are “energy made visible.” Pollock, even though he was looking for an intermediary between easel painting and the mural, was not bound to any specific format.
One could also say that these two features also detach Riopelle from the Automatist tradition, which was attached to the idea of a three-dimensional space and to the format of regular landscape, especially in Paul-Émile Borduas’s works of the 1940s. Even if he did not like to be defined that way, Riopelle revealed himself as much more “abstract” than many of his colleagues in the Automatist group. In that sense, one could say that Sans titre is closer to music than many non-figurative paintings, in that it includes movement and time in the very act of looking at the painting.
We thank François-Marc Gagnon of the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art, Concordia University, for contributing the above essay.
This work is included as an addendum to Volume 2 (1954 - 1959) in Yseult Riopelle's online catalogue raisonné on the artist's work at www.riopelle.ca, catalogue #1956.124H.1956.

Estimation: 500,000 $ ~ 700,000 $ CAN

S'est vendu pour: 1,239,000.00 $ CAN (prime d'achat incluse)

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