The eye roves wildly across Jean-Paul Riopelle’s Clairons, a saturated vortex of impasto, streaking colour. Scraping with a palette knife, Riopelle dragged his marbleised whites, red and bright blues across the canvas, creating a chromatic web of tectonic plates. Clairons is an orchestral painting, a detonation of sonic joy rendered in vibrant, striking tones. Painted between 1955-1956, the painting represents a triumphal period for the artist. After emigrating from Quebec to Paris in 1947, Ropelle quickly settled into the city’s dazzling post-war art scene, becoming a key figure of the École de Paris. In 1954, he participated in the 27th Venice Biennale and, the following year, in the São Paulo Biennial. Previously reliant upon a dense and darker palette, which drew comparisons to Jackson Pollock’s all-over technique, Riopelle began to lighten his colours, striving to use contrasting pigments which he applied directly from the tube. The thick, dense strokes of the present work embody Riopelle’s new aesthetic; Clairons is an accretion of jagged strata, of hollows, peaks and ravines, a translation of the terrestrial which would anticipate what he referred to as the ‘abstract landscapism’ of his later canvases. Reflecting upon his approach, the artist said, ‘Abstract: abstraction, pulling from, taking from… I take the opposite approach. I do not take from Nature, I go towards Nature” (J.-P. Riopelle, in Y. Riopelle, Jean Paul Riopelle. Catalogue raisonné 1939-1953. Tome 1, Montréal, 1999). In showing the world from above, the layered surface of Clairons reveals a dynamic exchange between sky and earth, a world entirely subjected to the desires of its painter.