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Two giants of modern art head to the AGO

February 12th, 2018

Image by the AGO.

When two legendary artists are closely connected for almost 25 years, what happens to their distinctive artistic styles? This question drives Mitchell/Riopelle: Nothing in Moderation, opening at the AGO on February 18. The groundbreaking exhibition is dedicated to the personal and artistic relationship between two powerhouses of abstract painting, American Joan Mitchell (1925–1992) and Canadian Jean Paul Riopelle (1923–2002).

The exhibition premiered at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) in Quebec City last fall and was an overwhelming success. Over 100,000 visitors came in droves to take in the massive works by these two artists. Now it’s your chance to see the exhibition at the AGO!

In anticipation of the opening, we looked back at what art critics said about the exhibition at the MNBAQ.

Robert Everett Green of The Globe and Mail discussed the new vantage point the show offers on abstract painters, noting: “Abstraction is sometimes discussed as a kind of closed conversation between painter and canvas, but for these artists it was a way of responding at high intensity to the visible world. Mitchell often said her goal was to ‘paint the feeling of things’, though without making her own personality the focus of the work. Riopelle challenged any attempt to identify what was abstract or figurative in his canvases. ‘Those of my paintings considered the most abstract have been, for me, the most figurative, in the literal sense,’ he said. ‘Abstraction doesn’t exist in painting.’”

Nicolas Mavrikakis from Le Devoir noted Riopelle and Mitchell’s own acknowledgement of each other’s influence on their work, and the ongoing dialogue through their work.

Sandra Godin from Le Journal de Québec wrote that while Mitchell and Riopelle painted separately, their work has undeniable similarities.

Jérôme Delgado from Le Devoir complimented the exhibition’s scope and the size of the works collected.

This incredible show is included in general admission and opens February 16 to AGO Members and February 18 to the general public.

Want to learn more? Join AGO Assistant Curator of Modern Art Kenneth Brummel, art historian Ray Ellenwood, art advisor David Moos and Joan Mitchell Foundation Director of Archives and Research Laura Morris on February 16 for an insightful conversation about the creativity and collaboration of Joan Mitchell and Jean Paul Riopelle.

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