Special Events

Rita Letendre: Celebration of Life

Black and white photo of artist Letendre in her studio in front of a painting in progress.

Tess Boudreau Taconis. Rita Letendre, early 1960s. gelatin silver print, Image: 23.7 x 34.8 cm (9 5/16 x 13 11/16 in.). Art Gallery of Ontario. Gift of the artist, 2007. 2006/463


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Special Events

Rita Letendre: Celebration of Life

Wednesday, November 23, 7 - 9 PM
Baillie Court, Art Gallery of Ontario

"Light, from the first shock at birth to the last breath, is life. Anyway, it has been my life!" - Rita Letendre (1928-2021)

Born in Drummondville, Quebec to Abenaki and Québécois parents, Rita Letendre began painting in 1950s Montreal, when she associated with Quebec's prominent abstract artist groups Les Automatistes and Les Plasticiens. After living in Europe and the U.S., she moved to Toronto in 1969. Seeking to express the full energy of life and harness in her powerful gestures an intense spiritual force, Letendre worked with various materials including oils, pastels and acrylics, using her hands, a palette knife, brushes and uniquely the airbrush. Renowned for her bold and visceral style, she pushed the boundaries of colour, light and space to new heights. Her work embodies her ongoing quest for connection and understanding.

The free event will include a screening of interviews with Letendre, alongside remembrances by her colleagues, friends and family.


For requests for Verbal Description, American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and/or live captioning for online and onsite programming, please provide three weeks notice in advance of the event date. The AGO will make every effort to provide accommodation for requests made with less than three weeks notice. Please note that automated captioning is available for all online programs. For onsite visits, the AGO offers these supports for an accessible visit. Please contact us to make a request for these or other accessibility accommodations. Learn more about accessibility at the AGO.


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