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Jean Paul Riopelle, Les Picandeaux, 1967

This show highlights the relationship between two artists from different generations with different styles, who nonetheless shared similar sensibilities when it came to color. Jean-Paul Riopelle (1923–2002) was a Francophone Canadian painter from Montreal who became a notable figure in the late Surrealist milieu of postwar Paris. Like his contemporaries in New York (Pollock, De Koonig) Riopelle found his way into Abstract Expressionism by way of automatic drawing, a technique developed by the Surrealists as a way of creating art by following the dictates of the unconscious. Riopelle, however, was more interested in the lyrical potential of color than in strum und drang of Pollock and De Kooning. He became friends with the older Mìro, with whom he shared a studio in the South of France for awhile. Even though Riopelle’s dense, overall attacks on the canvas differed vastly from Mìro’s light-on-its-feet Surrealism, the two turned out to be kindred spirits. Their association is made palpable by the juxtaposition here of Riopelle’s paintings and Mìro’s painted sculptures.