Mitchell / Riopelle: Un Couple Dans La Démesure
Summary of exhibition, from Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec:
This exhibition, which was unthinkable in the artists’ lifetimes, assembles nearly 60 works from public and private international collections. It is a major premiere and an outstanding opportunity to celebrate painting’s strength and magnificence.
The summer of 1955 witnessed the memorable encounter between two key figures of abstract painting in the second half of the 20th century: Joan Mitchell (Chicago, 1925 – Paris, 1992) and Jean-Paul Riopelle (Montréal, 1923 – L’Isle-aux-Grues, 2002). Joan Mitchell was a rising star in the abstract expressionist movement in New York. Jean-Paul Riopelle had achieved fame both in Europe and North America as a major practitioner of abstract art. An initially intense and increasingly tumultuous romantic relationship ensued for nearly 25 years (1955-1979). Following the example of several famous artist couples, Mitchell and Riopelle reflect the complexity of such a close emotional bond between two artists with distinct personalities and confirmed temperaments.
Organized in partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), supported by the Estate of Jean-Paul Riopelle in Montréal and the Joan Mitchell Foundation in New York, the exhibition will focus mainly on large-format paintings from French, Canadian and American private and museum collections. The presentation will explore how the two artists, who shared their lives for nearly 25 years, in Paris, then in Vétheuil in the Seine valley, developed a workshop practice and a distinctive body of work while sustaining a broad dialogue focusing on abstraction. Their tastes for the Impressionist heritage, nature and a form of provocation certainly drew them together. Their romantic relationship entirely shaped their deeply singular conception of painting and work methods.