Born: 07 October 1923; Montreal, Canada
Died: 12 March 2002, Canada
School or Group: Les Automatistes
Genre: abstract painting
Jean-Paul Riopelle was a painter and sculptor from Quebec, Canada.
Born in Montreal, he studied under Paul-Émile Borduas in the 1940s and was a member of Les Automatistes movement. He was one of the signers of the Refus global manifesto. In 1949 he moved to Paris and continued his career as an artist, where he commercialized on his image as a "wild Canadian". In 1959 he began a relationship with the American painter Joan Mitchell. Living together throughout the 1960s, they kept separate homes and studios near Giverny, where Monet had lived. They influenced one another greatly, as much intellectually as artistically, but their relationship was a stormy one, fueled by alcohol. The relationship ended in 1979. His 1992 painting Hommage à Rosa Luxemburg is Riopelle's tribute to Mitchell, who died that year, and is regarded as a high point of his later work.
Riopelle's style changed gradually from Surrealism to abstract expressionism/tachisme, in which he used myriad soft cubes of colour, applied as flat planes with a palette knife, on large canvases to create powerful atmospheres.