oil on canvas
54 x 73 cm (21 1/4 x 28 3/4 in.)
signed lower right
Riopelle's style in the 1940s changed quickly from Surrealism to Lyrical Abstraction, a variation of abstract expressionism, in which he used myriad tumultuous cubes and triangles of multicolored elements, facetted with a palette knife, spatula, or trowel, on often large canvases to create powerful atmospheres. His voluminous impasto became just as important as color. His oil painting technique allowed him to paint thick layers, producing peaks and troughs as copious amounts of paint were applied to the surface of the canvas. The 1960s, when Riopelle painted “Jeux”, became sort of the “heroic” decade of his work and life. In 1959 he began a relationship with the American painter Joan Mitchell which today is considered one of the most fascinating romances between artists. Living together throughout the 1960s, they influenced one another greatly, as much intellectually as artistically. In respect of Riopelle’s artistic career, this decade marks his international renown. He was the sole artist representing Canada at the 1962 Venice Biennale. Subsequently, retrospectives of Riopelle’s work were held at the National Gallery of Canada in 1963, a smaller exhibition at the Musée du Québec in 1967, at the Fondation Maeght (Saint Paul-de-Vence, France) in 1971, and at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1972.
Jean Paul Riopelle • Jeux