Rita Letendre: “La lumière, depuis le premier choc à la naissance, jusqu’au dernier souffle – la lumière est la vie. En tout cas, ç’a été ma vie!” / “Light, from the first shock at birth up to the last breath, is life. Anyway, that’s been my life!”

Rita Letendre in Montréal during the early 1970s

Rita Letendre_Le cri_oil on canvas_1962

Rita Letendre_Incandescense_oil on canvas_1968

Rita Letendre_Sunrise_a mural on the side of Neill Wycik Residence, Gerrard Street East in Toronto_1971

Rita Letendre_Blues_acrylic on canvas_1972

Rita Letendre_Malapeque II_1973

Rita Letendre_Romir_serigraph on paper_1979

Rita Letendre_Always, is it?_oil on canvas_2011

ZP_Rita Letendre receiving The Governor Generals Award in Visual and Media Arts from Governor General Michaelle Jean in 2010Rita Letendre receiving The Governor-General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts from Governor-General Michaëlle Jean in 2010

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Rita Letendre, born in Drummondville, Québec, in 1928, is an internationally-acclaimed painter.  She is one of the great stars of Canadian art, emerging with a breath-taking Modernist boldness during the 1970s.  Her father was Québécois and her mother Abenaki (an Algonquian people).   In her twenties she associated with Paul-Émile Borduas’ automatistes and her first solo show took place at the Montreal gallery L’Échourie in 1955.  Her “classic” paintings in hard-edged, geometric abstraction – with their strong arrow motif – are instantly recognizable.  The artist, a force even in her 80s, says:  “La lumière, depuis le premier choc à la naissance, jusqu’au dernier souffle – la lumière est la vie.  En tout cas, ç’a été ma vie!” / “Light, from the first shock at birth up to the last breath, is life.  Anyway, that’s been my life!”

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