Rita Letendre (1928-2021)

Untitled, 1966
acrylic on canvas, 40" × 48"
Ixtepec, 1977
oil on canvas, 78" × 64"
Eroica, 2001
Oil on canvas, 60" × 80"
Untitled (RL-52-10), 1952
oil on canvas, 8" × 11"
Alégorie (#53), 1953
gouache/paper, 11" × 9"
Onseer, 1978
acrylic on canvas, 42" × 72"
Untitled (RL-54-26), 1954
ink on paper, 8¾" × 11½"
Northern Light, 1979
acrylic on canvas, 110" × 48"
Untitled (RL-60-12), 1960
casein/paper, 7" × 9¾"
Untitled (RL-53-09), 1953
gouache/paper, 10¼" × 11"
Sharav, 1973
acrylic on canvas, 42" × 66"
Soleil, 2000
pastel on paper, 10¼" × 11"
Esan II, 1978
acrylic on canvas, 36" × 72"
Systeme Astral I, 1966
acrylic on canvas, 30" × 24"
Killala-II, 1977
acrylic on canvas, 61.5" × 61.5"
Mélodie Puresold
Mélodie Pure, 1954
oil on canvas panel, 12" × 16"
Untitled/Sans Titre RL55-15sold
RL-55-15, 1955
casein on paper, 9¼" × 11¼"
RL-55-16, 1955
casein on paper, 10" × 10"
Rencontre, 1966
oil on canvas, 48" x 40"
Untitled, 1965
oil on canvas , 60" × 24"
Heat Vibration Heat, 1968
casein on paper, 42" x 48"
RL-54-30, 1954
pastel on paper, 6" × 9"
RL-57-10, 1957
ink on paper, 11.75" × 9"
RL-57-18, 1957
ink on paper, 12" × 9"
RL-60-10, 1960
casein on paper, 4.5" × 5.75"
Caravane, 1961
gouache on paper, 12" × 16"
RL-61-10, 1961
pastel on paper, 7" × 10"
G-60-01, 1960
ink on paper, 9" × 12"
Un monde en fête
Un monde en fête, 1962
casein on paper, 9" × 12"
Tristesse, 1961
casein on paper, 15" × 18"
Untitled #20
RL-62-20, 1962
ink on paper, 6.25" × 9.5"
Untitled (1962)
RL-62-16, 1962
ink on paper, 9.25" × 12.5"
RL-62-10, 1962
gouache on paper, 9" × 12"
Obstruction Totale, 1966
acrylic on canvas, 40" × 48"
Lodestar Trail
Lodestar Trail, 1969
acrylic on canvas, 39½" × 32¾"
Zerdi, 1972
acrylic on canvas, 60" × 50"
Firestorm, 2005
oil on canvas, 36" × 48"
Sekani, 1978
acrylic on canvas, 30" × 48"
Hayam, 1974
acrylic on canvas, 36" × 72"
Le tourmente, 1987
oil on canvas, 48" x 56"
Echoes, 1987
oil on canvas, 48" × 72"
Sunrise, 1985
acrylic on canvas, 30" × 40"
Un Matin de printemp
Un Matin de printemp, 2009
oil on canvas, 36" × 60"
L'eveil du printemps
L'eveil du printemps, 2004
oil on canvas, 60" × 54"
Victory in a Gray World
Victory in a Gray World, 2006
oil on canvas, 30" × 36"
The Wind, the Wild Wind, 1992
acrylic on canvas, 36" × 42"
Eclat, 2003
oil on canvas, 36" × 36"
Burning Stars
Burning Stars, 2007
oil on canvas, 30" × 40"
The Sign of the Samurai
The Sign of the Samurai, 2006
oil on canvas, 30" × 48"
In the Wind, 2008
oil on canvas, 30" × 40"
Ancient Memories
Ancient Memories, 2007
oil on canvas, 30" × 48"



Rita Letendre (1928-2021)

Rita Letendre

Rita Letendre, one of Canada’s most renowned, trailblazing artists, passed away on November 20, 2021 after a long illness. She was 93 years old.

Born in Drummondville Quebec in 1928, Rita Letendre moved to Montreal in 1942 with her parents and six siblings and cultivated her childhood passion for drawing into one of the longest and most illustrious artistic careers in Canada. After a brief period spent studying at l’École des beaux arts in 1948, Letendre discovered a circle of artists known as the Automatistes who were experimenting with colour and form in a way that resonated deeply with her. These artists drew on life’s intensities and, like the young fiery Letendre, were determined to make their unique mark on the world.  Letendre remained committed to their spirit of free expression and spontaneity of abstraction throughout her life. She would go on to rigorously experiment with space, movement, and tension working with oils, pastels, acrylics, palette knife, and eventually the airbrush, which she began using in 1971.  Her intense and vibrant colour field paintings are composed of densely applied gestural strokes, evoking raw states of emotion and restlessness, which became a trademark.

Another defining moment came when she met her future husband, Kosso Eloul, on a trip to Spoleto Italy in 1962. Eloul was a Russian born Israeli sculptor and together they would work and travel the world, their union one of harmony, love and respect. Both Letendre and Eloul had tremendous energy and derived tremendous inspiration from one another. When they weren’t creating art, they were entertaining hundreds of guests in the townhouse they shared on Sherbourne Street in Toronto – a place that emanated warmth and hummed with life.

Letendre would go on to play a significant role in the history of public art in Toronto, where she was commissioned to create many large-scale public projects, including major murals at Ryerson University and Royal Bank Plaza, and the stained-glass skylights of Glencairn subway station. At the time, Letendre was often the only woman artist considered for – and awarded – such major commissions, and her involvement in public art was unprecedented. As major infrastructure developed throughout the 1970s, Letendre’s work continued to be featured in subway stations, universities, and offices buildings across the city. At one point, Letendre had as many as 12 public works on view, her most famous being Sunrise, a mural of 60 by 60 feet installed on the outside wall of the Neill-Wycik Building on Gerrard Street, and which has since been recreated in all its original glory at the Evergreen Brickworks in summer 2021. Letendre’s very first large-scale public work, a 24 by 21-foot mural titled Sunforce created for the University of California at Long Beach in 1965, has also recently been restored to its original state in honour of the artist.

At Gallery Gevik’s 90th birthday celebration for the Artist, Wanda Nanibush, Curator Indigenous Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario, summed up the artist when she remarked that Rita Letendre “paints fire and light in a way we’ve never seen before. [Throughout her life,] she was always thinking, feeling and experiencing light both spiritually and in terms of the canvas. I learned this from being in front her work. Her paintings open up our hearts and souls to what life can be, and that makes us want to live better, more passionately and stronger. This is what Rita Letendre has brought to us through her work and who she was as a person."

A cherished mother to Jacques Letendre (Monique Larocque), grandmother, and mentor, Rita Letendre has been an inspiration to many and will be deeply missed. She is a recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2010), is an Officer de L’ordre national du Québec (2002), an Officer de L’Ordre de Drummondville (2017), an Officer of the Order of Canada (2005), a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), a Member of the Order of Ontario (2016), recipient of an Honourary Doctorate from L’université de Montreal, and a recipient of the Paul-Émile-Borduas Award (2016), a distinction reserved for the very finest and most significant contributors to the art of Québec. In 2017, Rita Letendre: Fire & Light, the first major museum retrospective of Letendre's work to originate outside Québec, opened at the Art Gallery of Ontario, followed by Rita Letendre:  Earth, Wind & Fire at the McMichael Canadian Collection in February 2019 and in November of that year was selected as the Invited Artist for the Eiteljorg Museum’s Contemporary Art Fellowship & Exhibition. Over the course of her career, Rita Letendre has had over sixty solo exhibitions and her works are in the collections of numerous Canadian and American museums, including the la Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the National Gallery of Canada.

"What I want to express is life. I want to understand life and try to project it to others. Nchala [I hope]"– Rita Letendre

Gallery Gevik Exhibitions

Rita Letendre & Kosso Eloul
One Union, Two Art Icons
From November 14, 2020

This exhibition takes an intimate look at Rita Letendre's hard-edge paintings of the 1960s and 70s and Kosso Eloul's signature geometric sculptures in aluminum, steel, and alpi verdi marble.

Note: sold indicates the piece has been sold.

Daphne OdjigDaphne Odjig, Canadian Indigenous Artist and Icon Dies at 97. Click here for more details.

Odjig is frequently referred to as the "Grandmother of Indigenous Art." She has been the recipient of many awards, honours and recognitions for her works, to name a few: The Order of Canada, the Governor General's Award, and eight Honorary Doctorates. Her works have been shown in the National Gallery of Canada, The McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

She established the first native-run fine art print house in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1971. Known as 'Odjig Indian Prints,' this print house was so successful that it evolved into an Indigenous gallery space in 1974, called the New Warehouse Gallery, run by Odjig and her husband, Chester Beavon. She was also a founding member of the Indian Group of Seven. This artistic group's purpose was to promote Contemporary Indigenous art and artists.

Alex JanvierAlex Janvier's major retrospective, "Alex Janvier: Modern Indigenous Master" is now open at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario until January 21st, 2018. Afterwards, it will travel to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton and the Glenbow Museum in Calgary.

This exhibition was recently on display at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa and the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina. Alex Janvier is one of Canada's most acclaimed contemporary artists. His career of sixty-five years has yielded thousands of paintings, and more than twenty-five murals and public commissions. (Photo credit: Kim Griffiths)

Rita Letendre

It is with profound sadness that Gallery Gevik announces the passing of our dear friend Rita Letendre, one of Canada’s most renowned, trailblazing artists. She passed away on November 20, 2021 after a long illness. She was 93 years old.