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).
Extraordinary talents and romantic partners, Mitchell and Riopelle stand prominently alongside other modern art couples such as Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner. As is the case with most couples, 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 explores the push and pull of these two remarkable figures.
“Feasts for the eyes, the stunning and breathtaking pictures these painters produced 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,” says Kenneth Brummel, assistant curator, modern art.
An exhibition developed by the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and organized in partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario, with the support of the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Yseult Riopelle and Sylvie Riopelle.