JEAN-PAUL RIOPELLE, R.C.A.
HIBOU MASQUE, 1973
signed and numbered 4/8
17 ins x 7 ins x 3 ins; 43.2 cms x 17.8 cms x 7.6 cms
While Riopelle’s sculpture is generally less well-known than are his paintings, the artist himself asserts that sculpture was always a part of his practice. According to Riopelle, these works were not typically associated with him because “I didn’t have money to cast them in bronze” and, as a result, many of his projects were lost or broken over time.
In the late 1960s, Riopelle began modelling sculpture many of which, like this lot, had an animal theme. This theme culminated in his major opus, La Joute, a sculpted fountain that would be installed near the Olympic Stadium in Montreal in 1976.
In 1970 the owl motif specifically appears in Riopelle’s art and can be found in various media at this time. Daigneault writes: “We can speculate at length about the deep-seated reasons for this obsessive presence in Riopelle’s work” but may never hit upon its real meaning for the artist himself was evasive about the matter and his comments were far from illuminating. Nonetheless, whatever the impetus or inspiration, the owl did seem to have a sort of healing affect for the artist who, according to Daigneault, had been bed-ridden with a back problem for months.
Guy Cogeval and Stephane Aquin (eds)., Riopelle: Works from the Collection of Power Corporation of Canada and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (catalogue), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, 2006, page 142.
Yseult Riopelle (ed.), Jean Paul Riopelle: Catalogue Raisonné des Estampes, for Gilles Daigneault’s chapter entitled “Les années dionysiaques,” Hibou Editeurs, Montreal, 2005, page 34.
Private Collection, Montreal