Researcher to collect oral history on Quebec abstractionist Jean Paul Riopelle

MONTREAL — A researcher is setting out to collect an oral history on the life and career of Quebec abstractionist Jean Paul Riopelle as part of the late artist's centenary celebration.

Concordia University and the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation are teaming up to support the creation of a digital oral archive about Riopelle ahead of the 100-year anniversary of his birth in 2023.

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The three-year partnership is backed by a $150,000 grant from the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation, with the support of The Audain Foundation and The Jarislowsky Foundation.

Organizers say Concordia doctoral student Lea Kabiljo will collect stories from family members, friends and colleagues who knew Riopelle and contemporary artists influenced by his work.

They say the goal is to share these stories with the public as part of a digital project.

Born in Montreal on Oct. 7, 1923, Riopelle is known for trading in his paint brush for a palette knife to create bold mosaic-style works.

He was also a member of Quebec's Les Automatistes, a group of artistic dissidents founded by his mentor, Paul-Émile Borduas.

In 1947, Riopelle moved to Paris, where he was influenced by the French surrealists. He returned to Canada in the early 1990s and died in 2002.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2021.

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