Thanks to the construction of Espace Riopelle in Quebec, dozens of works by Jean-Paul Riopelle currently located in Toronto and Vancouver, together with wealthy antique collectors Pierre Lasound and Michael J. Auden, will be returned and kept in Quebec.
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“This collection had to be returned to Quebec to become part of the heritage,” says Jean-Luc Murray, director general of the Musée Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Quebec, where the $143 million project will be implemented.
The 68 paintings that the two sponsors bequeathed to MNBAQ are worth $100 million, an amount to which the Jean Paul Reubel Foundation, set up by Mr. Auden, added $20 million to build.
“This is a historic moment for philanthropy in Quebec,” said Pierre Lasound.
Yseult Riopelle, daughter of a painter who died in 2002, in L’Isle-aux-Grues, also donated two paintings.
working to share
Applauding warmly at Thursday’s press conference at MNBAQ, octogenarian businessman Michael J. Odin, who has made his fortune in real estate in British Columbia, said it was important for him to share the business he owns with the public.
“The artworks will live long after us, so we have to share them,” he said.
Jean-Luc Murray welcomes his gesture. “I have seen Mr. Audain’s works in Vancouver, in his living room and in his bedroom. I know what he is denying himself.”
The collection of works transferred to the museum mainly includes paintings by Reubel dating from the 1950s.
“It is the wonderful Riopelle period, the mosaics, the very woven works. This period makes up the bulk of their collections. These are very large formats. The idea of the pavilion is to take a meditative approach.”
Like the Lassonde Pavilion, which opened in 2016, the creators of Espace Riopelle mirrored the bold architecture of the new pavilion for MNBAQ, Mr. Murray identifies.
“We want a building that perfectly fits into the museum’s ecosystem. The choice of the central wing seemed wise to us. We would be able to create a more efficient crossroads with modern public spaces and especially the exhibition spaces dedicated to Jean-Paul Reubel.”
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