JEAN-PAUL RIOPELLE "MIDI À VÉTHEUIL" LITHOGRAPH, 1985
With a world auction record of $5.4 million, set again in the spring of 2017, Jean-Paul Riopelle (1923-2002) is arguably the most successful post-war abstract painter from Canada.
While Americans have traditionally favored Jackson Pollock as the most influential Abstract Expressionist of the 20th century, in Europe (and beyond) Riopelle's stature is of competing importance for his version of 'automatic' action painting.
His early canvases were densely intricate webs of constructed color created by using a palette knife. His later work both loosened up and became more structured as he experimented with composition and more specific palettes.
Riopelle's last chapter of production was quite an interesting departure; he began to experiment with stencils, spray paint and ultimately embrace figuration.
This particular work is a scenic depiction of Vétheuil, a small village 60 km northwest of Paris, France where Joan Mitchell lived while the two were together. Vétheuil was also home to Claude Monet from 1879-1881 and was a frequent source of inspiration in his work.
"Midi à Vétheuil" features Église Notre-Dame de Vétheuil, a gothic cathedral that dates back to the 13th century. Though representational, Riopelle's depiction is still indicative of his spontaneous aesthetic, including energetic ringlets that surround the structure.
Riopelle's signature swatches of color gently frame the perimeter of the work. Its muted palette of mauve, dove grey, coral, buttermilk, black, and copper is a distinctive paradigm of Riopelle's printmaking from the last chapter of his remarkable life.
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"Midi à Vétheuil"
Signed and numbered by the artist
From an edition of 75
19.5"H 23"W (work)
24.75"H 28.25"W (framed)
Very good condition
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