He discovered surrealism and modern art with Paul-Émile Borduas, a teacher who was extremely dedicated to his students and gave them a great deal of freedom. Under Borduas’s direction, Riopelle made his first abstract painting. Borduas and several of his students, including Riopelle, formed a group that worked, socialized and exhibited together (1942-1945). The group, which became known as ‘Les Automatists’ employed spontaneous painting to express the subconscious. Galerie Maeght poster, detail.
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Subsequently, Riopelle’s work has been extensively exhibited internationally, including the Guggenheim International and the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York; Museum of Modern Art in Brazil; the Galerie d’Art Moderne in Basel, Switzerland; the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa; the XXVI Venice Biennial in Italy, and the XXXI International Biennial of Art in Italy where he was awarded the Unesco prize in 1962.