Rita Letendre

Rita Letendre a Canadian painter, muralist and printmaker closely associated with the Automatistes, was born November 1928 in Drummondville, QC.  She is an officer of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the Governor General’s Award.  At age 19, she enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts where she worked in a very academic atmosphere for a year and a half.  In 1950 she went to view an art show "L’Exposition des Rebelles" despite being largely condemned by her professors – this was her introduction to the circle of Borduas and the Automatistes and soon thereafter, she left l'Ecole des Beaux-Art and began showing alongside other first and second generation Automatistes. Eventually her work was noticed, most notably by artist/art critic Rodolphe de Repentigny  Impressed by the structure and form in the works of the Plasticiens, Rita began changing her style to a more geometric one, employing more structured colour fields, zones of energy, thus temporarily abandoning the purely instinctual approach of Automatisme.  In 1964, her works became considerably simplified, more focused on geometric shapes and movement. She travelled to Paris where she met Kosso Eloul; the couple soon moved to California.  There Letendre painted her first large mural and explored printmaking, a technique conducive to hard-edge shapes.  The couple left Los Angeles in 1969, alternating their time between New York and Toronto which would continue until 1975. Letendre began using airbrush 1971 and the popularity of her work continued with many public and private commissions for large scale works.  By the 80s she was also working in pastel and eventually abandoned the airbrush altogether reverting a more abract expressionist style in the 90.  The works of Rita Letendre can be found in many public and private collections including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, Musée d'Art Contemporain Montreal, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Musée du Quebec and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Music of One Star
Oil on Canvas
16" x 20"

Beginning of Days
Oil on Canvas
60" x 48"

Color serigraph 38 of 75
40" x 28"

Acrylic on Canvas
54" x 102"

Pastel on paper
9" x 12"

Sortie Enflamée
Oil on Canvas
18" x 16"

Color silkscreen 129 of 150
30" x 22"

Pastel on Paper
12.25" x 40.5"