Rita Letendre

(1928 – 2021 )

“Light from the first shock at birth to the last breath, is life. Anyway, it has been my life.” ~ Rita Letendre, Art Gallery of Ontario, 2017

Rita Letendre Artwork Currently for Sale

Rita Letendre Artwork

Rita Letendre

Rita Letendre, c. 1971, Twilight Phase Series
oil on board, 17 in x 28 in,
signed recto.

Rita Letendre

Rita Letendre, 2002, Mes Reves en Mauve,
oil on canvas, 17.5 in x 24 in,
signed and dated, titled verso.,

Rita Letendre

Rita Letendre, La Tornade, 1987
acrylic on canvas, 24 ins x 30 ins,
signed and dated.

Rita Letendre

Rita Letendre, 2005, Memory of Spain,
oil on canvas, 24 in. x 24 in.,
signed, titled and dated verso.

Rita Letendre

Rita Letendre, 1962, Le Cri
oil on canvas, 16.5 in x 20.5 in
signed and dated bottom right, titled verso.

Rita Letendre

Rita Letendre, 1963, Algol
oil on canvas, 18 ins x 21 ins
signed and dated.
Provenance: Galerie Camille Hebert, Montreal.

Rita Letendre

Rita Letendre, 1959, Aux Pays des Heraclides
oil on canvas, 20 in x 16.5 in
signed and dated, titled verso.

Rita Letendre

Rita Letendre, 2003, Oh What a Beautiful Day,
oil on canvas, 16 in x 20 in,
signed and dated verso.

Rita Letendre

Rita Letendre  was born in Drummondville, Quebec of Abenaki and Quebecois descent. Letendre enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts, Montreal in 1948, however, she only remained there for a year and a half. She stated that the school was too academically rigid and conservative.

Letendre was introduced to Paul-Emile Borduas’ circle of avant-garde artists in the early 50’s. They were called the Automatistes and held the polar opposite ideology to that of the École des Beaux-Arts. Letendre was motivated by ”Borduas’ encouragement of a new sense of self-determinaton and new visual vocabulary”.

Rita Letendre’s first “Automatiste” style gouaches shown in a group exhibition at the Librairie Tranquille in 1954 received attention in the press. Like many of her colleagues, Letendre’s first public exhibitions took place above the bookshelves of Librairie Tranquille, private studios, apartments, restaurants, and entrance halls of educational buildings.*

Letendre’s involvement with the exhibition La Matiere chante in 1954, organized by the poet Claude Gauvreau for the Galerie Antoine was a significant point of recognition for her early abstracts. Paul-Emile Bordaus had chosen the ninety seven works by twenty artists to exhibit at the show. The show was intended to keep the Automatiste painting alive by encouraging the work of a second generation. In several reviews it had been noted that Letendre was noted as a worthy successor to the Automatiste artists.*

Rita’s Letendre’s work of the early to mid 50’s were like grids of colour moving across the surface.. In the late 50’s there was a move towards working with a palette knife or spatula. We see more of a patterning approach to her compositions and heavier application of paint to the surface which helps create an energy and mood to the work. It is in 1960 that we see a high point in the abstract expression of her work. From 1960-63 we see the expressive gestures of her brush explode with energy and mood.

In 1962, she left Montreal for Paris, Rome, and Israel, spending two years away. She continued to paint while she was travelling. In 1964, her works took on more of a hard edge abstraction. Letendre continued to use both palette knife and brush at times. We see the interplay between the expressive gestures and the hard edge geometric shapes between 63-66. In the late 60’s she begins her “Highway Series” which became her hallmark in Canadian art history. From the 1980’s to present day, Rita Letendre’s work and techniques continues to evolve, however, never straying too far from her initial roots in abstraction. Her work today continues to have a powerful and emotional affect on the viewer. She accomplishes these feats by her natural ability to create dramatic colour compositions and movement in her work.

Her first solo exhibition at a Canadian museum was in 1961 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. In 1989, Letendre had a solo show at the Concordia Art Gallery, Montreal, called Rita Letendre, The Montreal Years, 1953-1963. In 2003, the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec held a retrospective of Letendre’s work. The show was called Rita Letendre, Aux Couleurs du Jour, it travelled to the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Alberta, in 2005. Also, in 2005, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery held a retrospective called Rita Letendre, Beginnings in Abstraction. Rita Letendre has had numerous other solo and group shows in public and private galleries across Canada and internationally. She continues to paint and exhibit her outstanding work in private galleries today. Rita Letendre is considered one of the most talented abstract artists of Canada today. She holds a significant place in the history of Canadian abstraction.

*The Montreal Years, 1953-1963, Concordia Art Gallery, 1989, pg’s. 6-8

Video – Rita Letendre: Artiste-Peintre

Video – 1969 Video interview with Rita Letendre

Solo Exhibitons
2017 Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
2016 Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal
2014 Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal
2013 Gallery Gevik, Toronto
2013 Winchester Gallery, Victoria, BC
2012 Galerie Michel Guimont, Québec
2011 Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal
2010 Gallery Gevik, Toronto
2008 Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal
2008 Galerie d’Art d’Outremont, Outremont
2008 Gallery Gevik, Toronto
2006 Gallery Gevik, Toronto
2006 Robert McLaughlin Art Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario
2005 Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal
2004 Musée du Québec
2004 Winnipeg Art Gallery
2004 Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal
2003 Musée du Québec
2003 The Art Company, Toronto
2002 Moore Gallery, Toronto
2002 Art Sutton, Sutton, Québec
2001 Centre d’Exposition de Baie-Saint-Paul, Québec
2001 Moore Gallery, Toronto
2001 Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal
2000 Moore Gallery, Toronto
1999 Art Gallery of Algoma, Sault St. Marie
1998 Galerie Madelaine Lacerte, Québec
1998 Centre Culturel de Drummondville
1997 Moore Gallery, Toronto
1997 Waddington & Gorce Gallery, Montreal
1997 Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal
1996 Art Sutton, Sutton, Québec
1994 Moore Gallery, Hamilton
1993 Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto
1992 Waddington & Gorce Gallery, Montreal
1991 Moore Gallery, Hamilton
1991 The 291 Gallery, Toronto
1990 Robert McLaughlin Art Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario
1990 Moore Gallery, Hamilton
1989 Concordia Art Gallery
1989 Moore Gallery, Hamilton
1988 Moore Gallery, Hamilton
1988 Preston Burke Gallery, Detroit
1988 Waddington & Gorce Gallery, Montreal
1987 Preston Burke Gallery, Detroit
1984 DeVorzon Gallery, Los Angeles
1984 Galerie Gilles Corbeil, Montreal
1984 Gallery Moos, Toronto
1984 Waddington & Gorce Gallery, Montreal
1984 Wallack Gallery, Ottawa
1983 Gallery Graphica, Edmonton
1983 Gallery Moos, Toronto
1982 Galerie Gilles Corbeil, Montreal
1981 Wallack Gallery, Ottawa
1980 Centre Culturel de Drummondville
1980 Galerie Gilles Corbeil, Montreal
1980 Gallery Moos, Toronto
1979 Gallery Moos, Calgary
1979 The Art Package, Chicago
1979 The Ardwin Gallery, Detroit
1979 Wallack Gallery, Ottawa
1978 Galerie Gilles Corbeil, Montreal
1978 West End Gallery, Edmonton
1977 Gallery Moos, Toronto
1976 Algoma Festival of Technical Arts, Sault-St. Marie
1976 Arras Gallery, New York
1976 Equinox Gallery, Vancouver
1975 Galerie Gilles Corbeil, Montreal
1975 Vibrations Coloreés, Place des Arts, Montreal
1974 Arras Gallery, New York
1974 DeVorzon Gallery, Los Angeles
1974 Galerie de Montreal, Montreal
1974 Gallery Moos, Toronto
1974 Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs, California
1973 Benson Gallery, New York
1973 Galerie de Montreal, Montreal
1973 Gallery Moos, Toronto
1973 University of Toronto, School of Architecture
1972 Bau-Xi Gallery, Vancouver
1972 DeVorzon Gallery, Los Angeles
1972 Malvina Miller Gallery, San Francisco
1972 Museé d’Art Contemporain, Montreal
1972 The Arwin Gallery, Detroit
1971 Galerie de Montreal, Montreal
1970 Roberts Gallery, Toronto
1969 Gordon Gallery, Tel-Aviv, Israel
1969 Gallery Sherbrooke, Montreal
1967 Gallery Pascal, Toronto
1966 Galerie Agnes Lefort, Montreal
1965 Galerie Camille Hébert, Montreal
1963 Dorothy Cameron Gallery, Toronto
1963 Galerie Camille Hébert, Montreal
1963 University of Ottawa Art Gallery
1963 Université of Sherbrooke
1962 Here and Now Gallery, Toronto
1961 Dorothy Cameron Gallery, Toronto
1961 Galerie Denyse Delrue, Montreal
1961 Here and Now Gallery, Toronto
1961 Museé des Beaux-Arts, Montreal
1959 Galerie Denyse Delrue, Montreal
1958 Galerie Artek, Montreal
1956 Galerie L’Actuelle, Montreal
1955 Galerie L’Echourie, Montreal

Major Collections
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montreal
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Montreal
Musée National du Québec, Québec
Musée Laurier
La Caisse de Dépot du Québec
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Concordia Art Gallery, Montreal
Art Gallery of Vancouver
Art Gallery of Windsor
Carleton University
Art Gallery of Ontario
Toronto Dominion Bank
Royal Bank of Canada
The Art Bank of Canada, Canada Arts Council
The Palm Springs Desert Museum Palm Springs, California
San Diego Art Gallery
The Robert McLaughlin Art Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario
Storm King Art Center, New York
IBM Canada, Toronto
Norcen Gas Corporation, Toronto
Rothmans of Canada, Toronto
Canadian Industry Ltd. (CIL)
Shell Canada, Calgary
Ministry of External Affairs
Northern & Central Gas Corporation Collection
Continental Telephone Corporation, Dallas, TX
Speed Museum, KY
University of California, Long Beach
Radio Canada, Montreal
Long Beach Museum of Fine Arts
Moncton University
Sir George William University, Montreal

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Contact us to buy, sell or appraise artwork by Rita Letendre.