Artwork: Mint
Size: 38 x 55 cm
Medium: Oil on canvas
Creation year: 1961
Marks: Signed
Category: Paintings
Provenance: Pierre Matisse Gallery New York; Gallery Moos Toronto; Private Collection Calgary; Sale: Sotheby's Toronto Important Canadian Art 26 May 2008 Lot 169; Private Collection Italy; Sale: Farsettiarte Prato Dipinti e Sculture del XIX e XX Secolo 29 November 2008 Lot 636; Private Collection Milan; Acquired directly from the previous by the present owner;; Literature; Yseult Riopelle and Tanguy Riopelle Jean-Paul Riopelle: Catalogue raisonne Tome 3 1960-1965 Montreal 2009 p. 126 no. 1961.025H.1961 illustrated in colour;; ;; Mint from 1961 is an exquisite gem-like painting executed by one of the most important Canadian artists of the Twentieth Century Jean-Paul Riopelle. With an enthralling cacophony of colours vigorously applied to the canvas in shades of piercing scarlets mint greens and midnight blues against a broader backdrop of striated earthy browns and thick set white this is a work that is as vivid as it is dynamic. Here the paint has been brought to life scraped by a palette knife across the surface of the canvas then manipulated into ridges and furrows the results standing as evidence of the artist's gestural motions as his energy breathes life into the medium. The bright tonal colour range on Mint unusual for an artist who generally worked with a darker palette in this period marks the present work as a rarity.;; Inspired by the Surrealist teachings of Andre Breton Riopelle a French-speaking Canadian made a name for himself by moving to Paris in 1949. Despite still suffering from the dual legacy of war and occupation the city was brimming with creativity attracting international artists thinkers and writers all drawn by its creative possibilities. There Riopelle befriended Samuel Beckett Alberto Giacometti and Joan Miro all of whom encouraged his artistic endeavours. Art Informel had emerged in Paris as one of the many pioneering by-products of the conflict as a style of gestural abstraction embraced by Riopelle it rejected both the representational art of earlier generations of artists which was bourgeois and therefore culpable as well as the precise minimal geometry of early abstraction which appeared cold and detached. With Europe coming to terms with the horrors of war and seeking to comprehend mankind's atrocities this new expressive art form was intuitive liberating spontaneous and sought a resuscitation of the soul.;; Art Informel had many practitioners: Riopelle exhibited alongside Jean Dubuffet Georges Mathieu Jean Fautrier and Sam Francis amongst others and counted many of these names amongst his friends. It was through Francis that Riopelle met fellow artist Joan Mitchell who having established a reputation for herself in New York as an Abstract Expressionist (Art Informel's American relation) crossed the Atlantic to embrace the bohemian lifestyle on offer in Paris. Mitchell's paintings tackled paint with the same magnificent verve and aplomb as Riopelle and their subsequent relationship was as rich and tumultuous as the canvases they individually produced.

Bonhams London

Date: 2016-06-29
Lot Number: 6