oil on canvas
200.7 x 150.5 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with funds from the Volunteer Committee to the Winnipeg Art Gallery
Jean-Paul Riopelle was a founding member of a group of Quebecois artists, the Automatists, interested in achieving personal and social freedom through creativity. Like many in this group, Riopelle’s initial inspiration was drawn from Surrealism, exploring the expression of the subconscious through the spontaneous application of media. His star rose internationally after he left Canada in 1946 for Paris, where he maintained a studio until 1989. In France, Riopelle was celebrated as an artist of the hinterland, guided completely by a wild and unfettered instinct. While Riopelle’s gestures in Vallée take the form of an all-over application and buildup of oil paint across the canvas, his technique becomes increasingly refined and ordered, with the paint achieving a prismatic luminosity, resembling a mosaic of stained glass.