In the past, I’ve written a lot about the Group of Seven, and other Canadian artists. Today, I’m going to write about the two artists with the most success on the world stage.
ABOVE: James Wilson Morrice, La vielle maison Holton à Montréal, between 1908 and 1909, oil on canvas, 23.8 x 28.8 inches
BELOW: Jean-Paul Riopelle, Homage to Grey Owl, 1970, oil on canvas, 117.9 x 157.5 inches
James Wilson Morrice
James Wilson Morrice was born in Montreal on August 10, 1865. After studying law in Toronto, he moved to England to study painting, then to Paris where he stayed until the First World War – during this time, he spent many of his winters back home in Canada. He fled Europe when war broke out, and eventually settled in Tunis. He died there (from alcoholism) at the age of 58.
Influenced first by Whistler, and then by Van Gogh, he is most known for Canadian Winter scenes, done in an impressionist style. Although not as well known in Canada as members of the Group of Seven, James Wilson Morrice, was the first Canadian artist to achieve international acclaim.
Jean-Paul Riopelle, was born in Montreal on October 7, 1923. After completing his studies in Quebec, he moved to Paris in 1947, where he met, and entered into a relationship with fellow artist Joan Mitchell. The two influenced each other greatly, but after twenty years, they decided to call it quits. After many years abroad, Riopelle eventually returned to Canada, and passed away in Quebec at the age of 78.
While his earlier work could be surrealist, he is best known for his abstract expressionist pieces. Jean-Paul Riopelle is arguably the most successful Canadian artist of the 20th century, and to this day the most successful internationally.