Several important events in connection with Jean Paul Riopelle (1923-2002) have come together recently, so the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec wishes to commemorate the artist’s contribution to modern painting in Québec and around the world. It has done so by presenting archive documents, three sculptures never exposed here before, and an exclusive taped interview with the artist’s daughter, Yseult Riopelle.
First, this exhibition marks the launch of the fourth volume (1966-1971) of the Catalogue raisonné of Riopelle’s work, the culmination of an undertaking by Yseult that has spanned more than 27 years. Second, it underscores her gift to the Musée of the immense panoramic Untitled work from 1976 currently on display in the Riopelle gallery of the Charles-Baillairgé Pavilion, Metamorphoses. More than 4.5 metres long, this composition ranks among the artist’s most masterful of the second half of the 1970s, and the Musée is more than a little proud to welcome it into its collection.
Another notable event saluted is the release of Égrégore. Une histoire du mouvement automatiste de Montréal, the French version of Ray Ellenwood’s book originally published in English in 1992. This translation makes this major study of the artistic movement whose spirit was embraced by Riopelle in the 1940s available to a much wider readership.
You also find a few documents related to the two new publications and the Musée’s recent acquisition, Riopelle’s Untitled. For their part, the sculptures attest to Riopelle’s venture into that art form in the 1960s. A few steps away, Hommage à Rosa Luxemburg—an emblematic painting from 1992 in memory of the artist’s former companion, American painter Joan Mitchell, who had died not long before—is displayed as never before, alone in all its radiant splendour. Next year, this lifetime legacy by Riopelle will be moved to the hallway leading to the future Pierre Lassonde Pavilion, making it possible to show the entire work panel-to-panel.