Bitter Dispute Over Estate of Jean-Paul Riopelle

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Monday, April 22, 2024

Bitter Dispute Over Estate of Jean-Paul Riopelle

MONTREAL, CANADA.- The heirs of the late Canadian artist Jean-Paul Riopelle are in a bitter dispute over his estate. Jean-Paul Riopelle died on March 12, 2003. His two daughters, Yseult and Sylvie Riopelle, went to Quebec Superior Court to claim that Huguette Vachon, his partner for the final 15 years of his life, tricked him to get more than $12 million in works. Riopelle named the three women equal heirs in his will. But Ms. Vachon was also made an executor of the will, which the daughters claim led to a conflict of interest.

The Riopelle sisters claim their father suffered from dementia beginning December 1995, citing a a 1997 psychiatric report by Dr. Pierre Mailloux. The report said he was unable to comprehend the nature and extent of his possessions and was "incapable of managing himself and his possessions."

In 1996 Riopelle signed an agreement with Ms. Vachon to transfer 742 of his paintings to her company and was paid $1,540,000. The sisters claim the works were worth more than $12 million.

A court document states: “The company only served, and continues to serve, as a screen for the dealings of Ms. Vachon, its alter ego, whose only objective is to take assets for herself to the detriment of the estate.”

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