Jean-Paul Riopelle

(Montreal 1923 - 2002 Île aux Grues (Quebec))

Riopelle starts painting while studying mathematics and architecture in Montreal between 1939 and 1942 and attends classes at the local Académie des Beaux-Arts. Inspired by André Breton’s book Surréalisme et peinture, he begins to make nonrepresentational pictures. Riopelle is a leading figure in the artists’ group “Les Automatistes,” which first attracts public attention in Montreal in 1946, and a signatory of its manifesto Refus global, released in 1948. In December 1946, he arrives in Paris, where he moves in the orbit of the Surrealists. In 1950, he meets Sam Francis; a group of American painters gathers around the two friends that puts its stamp on the defining tendencies in the “École de Paris” of the time.