Riopelle is one of the giants of Canadian art. He was born in Montreal in 1923. While studying at the École du Meuble in the early 1940s, he came into the sphere of Paul-Emile Borduas and became one of the signatories to the manifesto of Les Automatistes. Constrained by the conservatism of Quebec, Riopelle left for France in 1946 where he met success in avant-garde circles. In 1954, he began to exhibit with Pierre Matisse in New York and soon after was exhibiting in London with Gimpel Fils Gallery. From 1966, he began to exhibit regularly with the Galerie Maeght in Paris. The National Gallery of Canada held a retrospective in 1963. Other retrospectives followed over the years, at the Musée du Québec in 1967, at the Centre Georges Pompidou in 1981, at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1991, and a memorial exhibition there in 2002. Riopelle returned from France to reside in Canada in 1989. He died in 2002.