Thanks to the construction of the Espace Riopelle in Quebec, dozens of works by Jean-Paul Riopelle which are currently in Toronto and Vancouver, with the wealthy collectors Pierre Lassonde and Michael J. Audain, will be repatriated and kept in Quebec.
“This collection had to be repatriated to Quebec and become part of the heritage”, rejoices Jean-Luc Murray, director general of the National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec, where the $ 143 million project will be carried out.
The value of the 68 paintings bequeathed to the MNBAQ by the two patrons amounts to $ 100 million, a sum to which the Jean-Paul Riopelle Foundation, created by Mr. Audain, adds $ 20 million for construction.
“This is a historic moment for philanthropy in Quebec,” said Pierre Lassonde.
Yseult Riopelle, the daughter of the painter who died in 2002, in L’Isle-aux-Grues, also donated two canvases.
Works to share
Warmly applauded at today’s press conference at the MNBAQ, octogenarian businessman Michael J. Audain, who made his fortune in real estate in British Columbia, said he was important to him to share the works he owns with the public.
“Works of art are going to live long after us, so we have to share them,” he said.
Jean-Luc Murray welcomes his gesture. “I saw Mr. Audain’s works in Vancouver, in his living room and in his bedroom. I know what he’s depriving himself of. “
The body of work transferred to the museum mainly includes paintings by Riopelle dating from the 1950s.
“It is the great period of Riopelle, the mosaics, the very textured works. This period constitutes the bulk of their collections. These are very large formats. The idea of the pavilion is to have a contemplative approach. “
Like the Lassonde pavilion, which opened in 2016, the creators of the Espace Riopelle mirrored a daring architecture for the new wing of the MNBAQ, specifies Mr. Murray.
“We want a building that fits in well with the museum’s ecosystem. The choice of the central pavilion seemed judicious to us. We will be able to create a more efficient crossroads with modernized public spaces and especially exhibition spaces dedicated to Jean-Paul Riopelle. “