The New York artists built on the European idea of personally invested abstraction, while avoiding the idea of rational composition. After the war European artists were also eager to move beyond the between war period (1918–1939) where preconceptions of control dominated avant-garde art. One of the veins of abstraction of the post-war period in Europe earned many stylistic terms, including Art Informel in France in 1950, meaning “formless art.” This was followed by such terms as Tâchisme (meaning blotted or stained) in the 1950s, referring specifically to French gestural painting. In essence, Art Informel / Tâchisme were the European manifestations of what spawned Abstract Expressionism in the US.
Jean-Paul Riopelle, born and educated in Montréal, moved to Paris in 1947. He became a follower of Georges Mathieu (born 1921), who has been described as the leader of Art Informel. Mathieu’s technique consisted of impulsive, gestural painting, often from squeezing paint directly from the tube. Between 1955 and 1979 Riopelle was the companion of American Abstract Expressionist Joan Mitchell (1926–1992), some of whose work his resembles. His main technique was to squeeze paint from the tube and shape it with a palette knife, often with directional lines of force. Like the American Abstract Expressionists, his work was intuitive and spontaneous, all the while documenting a process of creation.
Correlations to Davis programs: Explorations in Art Grade 4: 6.35; Explorations in Art Grade 5: 5.33; A Personal Journey: 5.2; A Community Connection: 6.2, 8.1; A Global Pursuit: 2.2, 4.2