Born in Montreal in 1923. Died at Île-aux-Grues, Quebec, in 2002.
The internationally renowned Quebec painter and sculptor Jean Paul Riopelle began his career studying under Paul-Émile Borduas in Montreal. During the 1940s, he joined the Automatiste movement and was one of the signers of the Refus Global manifesto. Based in Paris after 1949, Riopelle eventually began a complex relationship with the American painter Joan Mitchell. The pair lived and worked near Giverny, the town northwest of Paris made famous by the Impressionist painter Claude Monet. Riopelle’s art quickly evolved from its surrealist origins into a meaty abstract expressionism where patches of colour were applied with a trowel or palette knife on large canvases. He was represented by the influential Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York and participated in the Venice Biennale (1954) and the São Paulo Biennial (1955). While in Paris, Riopelle’s friends included the artist Alberto Giacometti and the playwright Samuel Beckett. In the early 1970s, after a breakup with Mitchell, he built a home and studio in the Laurentians and divided his time between Quebec and France. His later art-making saw a return of figurative imagery and an expressive fascination with the flight of birds.