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Jean Paul Riopelle

The Pond – Homage to Grey Owl


Jean Paul Riopelle
Montreal 1923 – L'Isle-aux-Grues, Quebec, 2002


The Pond – Homage to Grey Owl




Oil on canvas


299.5 x 400 cm


Gift of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, inv. 2001.184


Quebec and Canadian Art

Grey Owl, whose real name was Archibald Stansfeld Belaney, was born in Hastings, England, in 1888. He immigrated to Canada in 1906, became a fur trapper and invented an Indigenous identity for himself. In 1925, his wife, Anahareo, of Omàmiwinini (Mohawk) and Kanyen’kehà:ka (Algonquin) descent, convinced him that his hunting activities were harmful to the environment. He then set about spreading his new ecological convictions and became an early conservationist for Canada’s national parks. He wrote several novels, including Tales of an Empty Cabin (1936), that particularly delighted the young Riopelle. In 1936, the artist attended a talk given by Grey Owl. In this large painting executed in Paris, we can make out the famous fur trapper’s cabin by the lake from the profusion of coloured strokes evoking the Canadian forest.

© Estate of Jean Paul Riopelle / SOCAN (2024)

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