Rita Letendre ARC / RCA
Rita Letendre was born in Drummondville in 1928 to a Québecois father and an Aboriginal (Abénaquis) mother. She registered at École des beaux-arts de Montréal in 1948 but quickly left this education after having seen, in 1949, the Exposition des rebelles dedicated to the Automatists. She then started to associate with this group and participated in their exhibitions including the one at the Tranquille bookstore, the one called Espace 55 and finally, the exhibition organized by Claude Gauvreau, La matière chante, where her works were particularly noticed by art critic Rodolphe de Repentigny. Considered one of ''the most promising avant-garde artists'?, Rita Letendre left to study in Europe in 1962 and, in Italy, met sculptor Kosso Eloul (1920-1995) who she married in 1966. First living in Los Angeles, the couple settled in Toronto in 1969. Her pictorial approach goes from structured abstract (1950-1960) to hard-edge and geometric abstract (1960-1970), years during which she developed her defining subject: the arrow. Afterwards, her work evolved towards a gesture of oblique always with the same vivid colours and dynamic compositions. The international notoriety she achieved with her numerous exhibitions in Canada and abroad (United States, Israël, France, Italy, etc.) allowed her to be commissioned for several exterior and interior murals both in the United States and Canada. Rita Letendre was the recipient of the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts (2010) and the Prix Paul-Émile Borduas ( in 2016).
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