With a world auction record of $2.3 million, achieved at Christie's in Paris in 2012, 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 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 or limited palettes. 

Riopelle would also embrace a range of mediums including works on paper and prints. 

While widely recognized for his work across abstraction, Riopelle is known to have experimented with figuration. "Totem" serves as a unique example of Riopelle's figuration.

Totem poles are a recurring motif throughout the artist's oeuvre, appearing in works on paper as well as sculptures. Riopelle often combines these historic monuments with elements from Quebec wildlife, showcasing his deep admiration for the local flora and fauna.

With its organic palette of ochre, periwinkle, and crimson, this work almost seems to foreshadow Riopelle's last body of work where he includes figurations that interpret various birds of his native Quebec.

This is a distinctive paradigm of Riopelle's printmaking. 

Questions about this artwork? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720




Signed by artist, bottom right

From an edition of 75

20"H 17.5"W (work)

23"H 20.5"W (framed)

Very good condition.

Printed in France, circa 1970 by the legendary Galerie Maeght.

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