The sculpture in the likeness of artist Jean-Paul Riopelle is installed in the south part of the eponymous square, near Rue Saint-Antoine West. Although it portrays the artist at the age of 45–47 years, when he produced La Joute, the artwork has no visual relationship with the imposing fountain installed in the north part of the square. It is a life-size, full-round portrait made of bronze. Riopelle’s face is turned to the right, his right hand rests on his hip, and his right foot is placed slightly forward. The surface of the artwork is granular, and the sculpture gives the impression of movement. In this artwork, Roseline Granet pays tribute to her great friend. In 1997, she had exhibited a series of sculptures portraying Riopelle in natural poses.
Jean-Paul Riopelle was born in Montréal on 7 October 1923. A student of Paul-Émile Borduas’s when he attended the École du meuble, Riopelle later became a member of the Automatist group. In 1948, he was one of the signatories of the Refus global, an artists’ manifesto criticizing the dominant values in Québec society of the time. In 1949, he moved to Paris, where he worked alongside the surrealists and became very successful. He returned to Québec in 1990. A Grand officier of the Ordre national du Québec and Companion of the Order of Canada, he died on 12 March 2002, in Saint-Antoine-de-l’Isle-aux-Grues. He twice represented Canada at the Venice Biennale.