Artwork by Rita Letendre,  Eridan
Thumbnail of Artwork by Rita Letendre,  Eridan Thumbnail of Artwork by Rita Letendre,  Eridan Thumbnail of Artwork by Rita Letendre,  Eridan

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Cowley Abbott
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Ph. 1(416)479-9703

Lot #12

Rita Letendre
Eridan

oil on canvas
signed and dated 1963 lower right; signed, titled, dated 1963 and inscribed “Paris” on the reverse
18 x 21.5 in ( 45.7 x 54.6 cm )

Auction Estimate: $35,000.00$25,000.00 - $35,000.00

Provenance:
Galerie Camille Hébert, Montreal as "Eridon"
Private Collection, Ontario
As a young artist, Rita Letendre studied briefly at the École des beaux-arts in Montreal, and became interested in the influential abstract works of "Les Automatistes". Letendre was part of the second wave of Montreal artists who emerged directly following the collective in the early 1950s. By the early 1960s, Letendre had earned both commercial success and critical acclaim.

Influenced by artists such as Paul-Émile Borduas and Franz Kline, Letendre’s paintings of the period were confident, gestural abstractions with dense impasto surfaces. Letendre put palette knives and spatulas to expert use to create luscious painterly textures. These works often featured dark swirls of oil paint sharply contrasted with areas of vivid colour. "Eridan" features a horizontal swath of cadmium orange, which appears almost luminescent.
Sale Date: May 30th 2024

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Cowley Abbott
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Ph. 1(416)479-9703


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Rita Letendre
(1928 - 2021) RCA

Canadian painter, muralist, and printmaker Rita Letendre was born in Drummondville, Quebec, in 1928. She is of Iroquois descent. Letendre and her parents moved to Montreal in 1941. She settled in Toronto in 1963. In part, Letendre is self-taught but she studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Montreal for year and a half. While in school she was introduced to the Automatistes due to pamphlets announcing the locations of their new paintings.

Encouraged by Borduas, Mosseau, and Ferron’s art, Letendre began exploring similar motifs in her paintings and began exhibiting with the group from 1952-55. In 1955 she exhibited in “Espace 1955” at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Sharing a studio with fellow Automatiste painter and sculptor, Ulysse Comtois, Letendre became the subject of an article by the Weekend Magazine on non-objective Montreal-based painters. Then, in 1959, Letendre was included in the Third Biennial Exhibition of Canadian Art. In the following year the National Gallery of Canada included Letendre in their Non-Figurative Artists of Montreal exhibit that traveled throughout Canada. In 1962, Letendre received a travelling grant from the Canada Council and traveled to Paris, Italy, Israel, Spain, Belgium, and Germany.

Using a variety of techniques and media such as brush, spatula, pastel, silkscreen, and airbrush, Letendre was a leading member of the colourist movement. Exhibited in over sixty-five solo exhibitions, Letendre’s work can be described in three distinct periods. Her first period, known as the Montreal years, was inspired by her first meeting with Borduas and was a rich exploration of self-discovery. Letendre’s second period was inspired by Russian-born sculptor Kosso Eloul, who later became her husband. Her final period was rooted in mourning and love.

Letendre’s works vary in size from grand murals that are sixty feet by sixty feet in size to small projects on silkscreen. These works are collected throughout the North American continent by governments and public and private galleries and organizations. Letendre’s work has been exhibited in Europe, Israel, Japan, and throughout North America in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.

Literature Sources:
"A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume II”, compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1979
Roumanes, Jacques-Bernard. “Rita Letendre: Le tableau ivre.” Vie des Arts 45, 183, 2001
Andersen, Marguerite. “Rita Letendre: Énergie et luminosité. L’art du féminin, 12 2004

We extend our thanks to Danie Klein, York University graduate student in art history, for writing and contributing this artist biography.