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Mitchell/Riopelle: Nothing in Moderation coming this February

September 15th, 2017

Anonymous photographer, Joan Mitchell and Jean Paul Riopelle in Chicago, about 1957. Yseult Riopelle Archives. Work shown: Jean Paul Riopelle, Untitled (detail), about 1957, oil on canvas, 60 × 73 cm. Private collection © Estate of Jean Paul Riopelle / SODRAC (2017)

When two legendary artists are closely connected for 25 years, what happens to their distinctive artistic styles? This is the question that drives Mitchell/Riopelle: Nothing in Moderation, a groundbreaking exhibition dedicated to the relationship between two powerhouses of abstract painting, American Joan Mitchell (1925–1992) and Canadian Jean Paul Riopelle (1923–2002). After premiering at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) in Quebec City, Mitchell/Riopelle: Nothing in Moderation will run at the AGO from February 17 to May 6, 2018.

Extraordinary talents and romantic partners, Mitchell and Riopelle stand prominently alongside other modern art couples such as Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner. As is the case with most partnerships, their relationship ebbed and flowed, which can be tracked through the blending and separation of their respective painting styles. Through more than 50 carefully selected works, most of which are large-format, monumental paintings, the exhibition will explore the push and pull of these two remarkable figures.

“The work of Joan Mitchell and Jean Paul Riopelle will be brought together in a major exhibition that tracks the two artists’ stylistic exchange and development from their first meeting in Paris in 1955 to 1979, the year that marks the end of their romantic relationship,” says Kenneth Brummel, assistant curator, modern art.  “Feasts for the eyes, the stunning and breathtaking pictures these painters produced during their nearly 25-year relationship are testaments to these artists’ respect and admiration for one another.  They also reveal that Mitchell and Riopelle took nothing, especially painting, in moderation when they were setting the agenda of abstract art in Europe and North America in the years following World War II.”

With Mitchell/Riopelle: Nothing in Moderation, the AGO celebrates the work of one of Canada’s most eminent abstract artists, Jean Paul Riopelle, known for his participation in the Montreal-based collective, Les Automatistes. We also honour the legacy of Joan Mitchell, an influential artist who emerged in New York during the heyday of American Abstract Expressionism.

Accompanying the exhibition is a 192-page, bilingual, French-English catalogue, the first comprehensive analysis of the relationship between Mitchell and Riopelle. It will include an illustrated chronology with commentary as well as essays by Michel Martin, exhibition curator at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Kenneth Brummel and Yves Michaud, renowned French philosopher and author of many essays on Riopelle.

Mitchell/Riopelle: Nothing in Moderation is organized by the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) in partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario with the support of the Joan Mitchell Foundation and Yseult and Sylvie Riopelle.

The exhibition will take place in the AGO’s expansive Sam and Ayala Zacks Pavilion, but it is included in general admission. AGO Members will see it for free as many times as they like! We can’t wait to welcome you to this powerful and eye-opening exhibition experience.

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