On 7 October, Canada will mark the centennial of legendary abstractionist Jean Paul Riopelle. Though he died at age 78, in 2002, Riopelle lives on through his art—including a global programme of centenary shows and other tributes—and, now, through a special two-dollar coin just issued by the Royal Canadian Mint.
An event Tuesday (3 October) marking the release of the new two-dollar coin—which Canadians lovingly call a “toonie”, as opposed to the one-dollar coin, called a “loonie” because it features an image of a loon—took place at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, which is also hosting the blockbuster show Riopelle: Crossroads in Time
(27 October 2023-7 April 2024), with some 130 works in all. In attendance were mint president and chief executive Marie Lemay, the Riopelle Foundation’s executive director Manon Gauthier and Jean-François Bélisle, who was recently named director and chief executive of the National Gallery.
“On the hundredth anniversary of Jean Paul Riopelle’s birth, we are delighted to issue a commemorative circulation coin honouring him as one of our greatest artists, whose talent and vision influenced a dynamic period in global artistic expression and touched admirers of his work and fellow artists in Canada and around the world,” Lemay says.