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Jean-Paul Riopelle Exhibition

Jean-Paul Riopelle
1923-2002

An extraordinary man, a unique exhibition!

Jean-Paul Riopelle is one of the few Canadian painters, sculptors and engravers to have carved out an enviable place on the international scene. A passionate man, intensely in love with freedom, he scoffed at conventions and taboos throughout his career. Fiercely independent, he preceded currents and trends, ceaselessly exploring new techniques and new materials, constantly seeking to renew his creative approach, allowing his pictorial language to evolve towards an utterly original aesthetic. Riopelle found his principal source of inspiration in nature, and it would remain his preferred subject throughout his career. For Riopelle, the important thing was never the subject itself, but the mystery it revealed, through which the artist could express himself. He had an inimitable vision of things, and his representation of the real remains remarkable and novel.

“There is no such thing as abstraction, nor representation. There is only expression, and self-expression means placing yourself in front of things,” Riopelle said.

Born in Montreal in 1923, Riopelle studied at the École du meuble, with PaulÉmile Borduas as a teacher. A signatory and advocate of the Refus global manifesto, he settled in France in 1948, where he was privileged to be at the heart of the artistic and intellectual life of the avant-garde. In the '50s, he and his work soared to triumph in Paris as well as in America. During his time in Paris and New York, Riopelle rubbed elbows with the greatest jazz legends of the era, including Bud Powell. This interest in the music led him to permit the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal to reproduce silkscreens of his piece, Jazz, in 1997. Then, during the 25th anniversary of the Festival, the late painter's estate granted exclusive permission to reproduce 75 copies of the previously unreleased 1990 work Big Bang, Big Band, which Alain Simard had personally acquired in 1997, during a visit to the artist's home on L'Isle-aux-Grues.

Today, the works of Jean-Paul Riopelle are included in major museum, private and public collections and showcased in the most important galleries the world over. His is an immense and diversified oeuvre that opened new artistic horizons, leaving its mark on the history of world art.

D'aile en ailes l'élan vital
Une exposition unique

The Galerie Lounge TD is honoured to present this extraordinary exhibition assembling more than fifty works by Jean-Paul Riopelle: 27 prints, 3 sculptures in bronze, photos of the artist, a number of articles and objects from his daily painting routine and, above all, more than twenty previously unseen works on paper which Huguette Vachon, his companion, has painstakingly selected in order to share their beauty with all of us.

Message from Huguette Vachon

1997.

Hello, Air Montmagny!

Alain Simard arrives on L'Isle-aux-Grues to meet Jean-Paul Riopelle… Nothing could have led us to imagine the touching, funny, moving moments that would follow that first handshake. And above all, nothing could have led us to imagine the enduring loyalty of the bonds born of that encounter, bonds that endure to this very day. That evening, Jean-Paul and Alain would return to the smoky salons of New York. Billie Holiday, Bud Powell... the sorrowful soul-nostalgia that transported Jean-Paul Riopelle back to his youth, his passion, his freedom.

The silkscreen Jazz, printed by the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal in 1997, allowed Jean-Paul to participate as a painter in an event that took him back to his “New York years”. Jean-Paul was then at the height of his fame. An internationally renowned painter, he was a favourite of the Galerie Matisse.

And today, I have the pleasure of returning to this common ground, to present these previously unseen works by Jean-Paul Riopelle, and to speak of a wind of change, to offer Jean-Paul's admirers the opportunity to plunge into the very heart of his creative source, to enter the intimate confines of his studio. Feast your eyes on these unseen works and you will be transported to the unprecedented world that Jean-Paul Riopelle built for you with the power of his sensibility, creativity and genius.

The piece L'isle heureuse, created in 1992, is a sweet, fierce love letter that Jean-Paul gave to me. It transports me and allows me to endlessly relive the unique moments of happiness that we shared during 16 years of life together. But even more, as I move through this life, it brings me a peace forged in tenderness and solitude.

Huguette Vachon

D'aile en ailes l'élan vital (On the Wings of the Lifeforce)

Performance featuring poetry and music, by Raôul Duguay
Thursday, November 10, 6 p.m.

Raôul Duguay, one of our greatest poets, delivers a long poem, a work of incredible sensitivity, in which he sought to capture the very essence of Jean-Paul Riopelle's creativity and spirit. He was able to journey to the deepest reaches of his being, translating his energy into words in a manner few have been able to accomplish. It is a piece which will transcend time, a spellbound sonic soliloquy to the work of Jean-Paul Riopelle.

Raôul Duguay will be accompanied by Yvan Belleau, saxophonist, and Alain Sauvageau, pianist, against a backdrop of musical excerpts from works by composers Nicolas-Alexandre Marcotte and Nicolas Bougaïeff.