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October 26, 2000 From the Art Gallery's permanant collection


Artwork: Ici, La Bas

Jean-Paul Riopelle (1923 - ) is the artist who painted Ici, La bas (1957), seen at left.

Although he is associated with the artistic iconoclasts Paul-Émile Borduas and the Automatistes, Riopelle’s work as an abstract painter evolved through several styles. He was especially known for his wild, energetic brushstrokes of colour.

By the middle of the 1950s, he had begun painting with his palette knife, which resulted in vibrant compositions of rectangular strokes resembling shards of broken colour.

Riopelle had always gone to nature for inspiration, and as his work in the late '50s leaned more and more toward figuration based on marine plant life, he and Borduas, whose work was becoming more formal and reductive, parted ways.

Ici, la bas is a “classic” Riopelle painting from the period of the palette-knife works, in which his canvases shimmered with his attempts to capture effects of light and colour. The painting was a gift to the art gallery from Dr. Max Stern.