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 Jean-Paul Riopelle  (1923 - 2002)

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About: Jean-Paul Riopelle


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Lived/Active: Quebec / Canada/France      Known for: abstract expressionist painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Jean-Paul Riopelle
1923 (Montreal, Canada)
2002 (Ile Aux Grues, Canada)

Quebec / Canada/France

© 2003 Jean-Paul Riopelle Estate / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Often Known For
abstract expressionist painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Jean-Paul Riopelle was born in Montreal, Canada in 1923.  He was the only son of an architect and began painting when only eight years old.  He later studied engineering at Montreal Polytechnique but switched to the serious study of art in the early 1940s.  He moved to Paris in the 1940s where he became close friends with Albert Giacometti, Joan Miro and Samuel Beckett.

Riopelle served as a fighter pilot near the end of World War II.  After the war he
moved to France where he built an international reputation in the 1950s and mingled with the intellectual celebrities of the era.  He was a member of the informal group of expatriate artists known as the Ecole de Paris, which included Marc Chagall.

From 1955 to 1979 he lived outside Paris with abstract painter Joan Mitchell. He
continued to live abroad until the early 1990s when he returned to Canada.  He died on March 12, 2002 at his home on Ile-aux-Grues on the St. Lawrence River east of Quebec City.

Written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Sources include:
Obituary in Los Angeles Times, Saturday, March 16, 2002
From the Internet,

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Montreal, Canada, Jean-Paul Riopelle became a leading mid-20th century abstract painter.  He moved to Paris in the 1940s where he became close friends with Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miro and Samuel Beckett.  He was much influenced by the Surrealist idea of automatism and this method was reflected in his early works. In 1947, he exhibited with Andre Breton and Marcel Duchamp.

Affiliated with the post war modernists, he created works of heavy impasto and quite often squeezed paint directly from the tube onto the canvas. In the 50s and 60s, he frequently used a palette knife, and sometimes his work had hints of landscapes and animals.

He died March 12, 2002 on the Ile aux Grues, near Quebec City.

From 1955 to 1979, he lived outside Paris with abstract painter Joan Mitchell, and continued to live abroad until the early 1990s when he returned to Canada.  He showed regularly in New York with the Pierre Matisse Gallery and was included in the Venice Biennale in 1952.

Source: Art in America, May 2002

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