Jean-Paul Riopelle R.C.A.

Graine d’Original, 1974

oil on canvas
10.75x18.125 in.

Galerie Maeght, Paris;
Dominion Gallery, Montreal;
Private collection

Graine d’Original, or Original Seed, the title of this later canvas implies, is a return to Riopelle’s early 1950s methods. Paint is thickly applied, laid on with a long, narrow palette knife, and is juicily built up, with stacked up layers, and tactile licks of impasto. What places this work squarely in the 1970s is the sense of a structured composition, with a square shape on the left and a squared and curved shape on the right, it implies intent. The division of his colours into distinct regions also indicate that this is a latter work.

Riopelle had returned to Quebec by the time Graine d’Original was painted, and had taken on a number of large public commissions, diversified his media to include collage, lithography, watercolour, ink on paper, and sculpture. This pure, palette knife work is a bridge between the heady works of the Refus Global years, and Riopelle’s mature expressions.

Jean Paul Riopelle was born in 1923 in Montreal, Quebec. Interested in both art and drafting from an early age, Riopelle’s artistic endeavours were originally based in Academic-style still-life and landscape works He attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts briefly before moving on to study at the École du Meuble in…