Austria was painted in 1954, the year of Riopelle's first solo exhibition in New York. It is an admirable illustration of the possibilities, both expressive and formal, of his new use of the masonry trowel. In addition, by organizing the surface around a large, central white mass, he introduced here a semblance of composition and, at the same time, an allusion to landscape painting, which is also suggested by the title. In a handwritten note in the file for this work, Evan H. Turner, who acquired it for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, recalls a conversation in which Riopelle remarked that he had been impressed by the sight of glaciers while travelling in Austria.
© Estate of Jean Paul Riopelle / SOCAN (2020)