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March 20

Riopelle and the graphic arts at the heart of a new BAnQ exhibit at the Montréal archives centre

Riopelle and the graphic arts at the heart of a new BAnQ exhibit at the Montréal archives centre

Montréal, March 20, 2012 – The remarkable corpus of the Riopelle – Séries graphiques exhibit illustrates the transgressions and artistic meanderings of one of the greatest artists of the second half of the 20th century. Including more than 100 artifacts, this exhibit traces, from the specific point of view of graphic arts, the career of Jean Paul Riopelle, who passed away 10 years ago. It will be presented by Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) in the Salle Gilles-Hocquart, at the Montréal archives centre until September 16, 2012.

“We decided to honour Riopelle in an unusual manner by highlighting the prints he produced, of which BAnQ owns some magnificent specimens,” said Guy Berthiaume, Chair and CEO of BAnQ.

Painter, sculptor, illustrator, print-maker and ceramic artist, Jean Paul Riopelle also made incursions into the field of graphic arts, creating a remarkable corpus of work. The catalogues, albums, objects and documents presented in this exhibit reveal a little known aspect of the artistic research of one of the greatest artists of the second half of the 20th century.

The title of the exhibit, Riopelle – Séries graphiques, highlights the serial character of the selection by illustrating how the artist often bypassed his own codes in a playful manner. Moreover, the exhibit focuses on prints and paper as a medium, allowing visitors to view different aspects of Riopelle’s work and going beyond his strict image as a painter. The evolution of his style, from mosaics to geese, unfurls before the visitor’s eyes.

The curator of this exhibit is André Hénault, scenographer by training, teacher, museologist and fervent observer of Riopelle’s work. The scenography was produced by Diane Bernier Design and the graphic design by Philippe Legris Design.

Activities complementing the exhibit

Hosted by exhibit curator André Hénault, two guided tours of the exhibit will be held as follows:

  • Saturday, March 24, at 2:00 pm;
  • Wednesday, April 25, at 7:30 pm.

Thursday, March 29, at 7:30 pm, François-Marc Gagnon, Professor at Concordia University, will give a lecture entitled Le visible et l’invisible chez Riopelle. The conference will be followed by a presentation of Icebergs et soleil de minuit – Quatuor en blanc, a composition by Simon Martin inspired by Riopelle’s eponymous works, performed by the string ensemble Le Quatuor Bozzini.

Thursday, June 7, at 7:30 pm, is film night with Riopelle, sans titre, collage 1999, by Pierre Houle (Québec, 1999, 55 min.), with music by Michel Cusson and narrated by Gilles Vigneault. This documentary, which has won numerous awards, provides an overview of the artist’s life in music and images.

All of these activities will take place at the Montréal archives centre, 535 Viger Avenue East. A ticket (free or paying) is required in order to attend these activities. Tickets are available on BAnQ’s Web portal ( as of one month before the date of the activity. Please note: no tickets are available on-site at the time of an activity.

Remarkable collections to discover

Collected since the legal deposit system was expanded in 1992, BAnQ’s heritage collections of posters and prints are the largest collection of Québec graphic works. Each collection includes more than 25,000 works produced by more than 2000 creators from the second half of the19th century to the present. Several thousand digitized prints and posters are available on BAnQ’s Web portal.

BAnQ also has approximately 3000 artists’ books and bibliophilic works, including artists’ editions and print albums. Published primarily in the 20th and 21st centuries, and subject to legal deposit since 1968, these works are appreciated for their original designs, material qualities and rarity.

These collections are disseminated at BAnQ’s Centre de conservation (preservation centre) located at 2275 Holt St., in Montréal, and can be located through the Iris catalog.

About Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec

As the largest cultural institution in Québec and an essential pillar of the knowledge society, the mission of Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) is to offer democratic access to culture and knowledge. To this end, it brings together, preserves and disseminates the Québec and Québec-related documentary and archival heritage. It also offers the services of a major library. BAnQ encompasses the Grande Bibliothèque, a preservation centre (Centre de conservation), nine archives centres in Montréal, Québec City, Gatineau, Rimouski, Rouyn-Noranda, Saguenay, Sept-Îles, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières, and an antenna at Gaspé.

Our partners

Ville de Montréal. Fondation de BAnQ. Les Amis de BAnQ. Catalogue des bibliothèques du Québec. RDAQ. RFN.