The Canada Auction

Auction begins to close:
June 09, 2022 at 8:00 pm ET

Online Auction
LOT 17

Lot 17

RITA LETENDRE, R.C.A. (1928-2021)

RITA LETENDRE, R.C.A. (1928-2021)
Lot 17 Details
RITA LETENDRE, R.C.A. (1928-2021)

TROMBE, 1959

oil on canvas
signed and dated '59
13 ins x 11 ins; 33 cms x 27.9 cms

Estimate $20,000-$30,000

Realised: $52,800
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images
RITA LETENDRE, R.C.A. (1928-2021)
  • RITA LETENDRE, R.C.A. (1928-2021)
  • RITA LETENDRE, R.C.A. (1928-2021)
  • RITA LETENDRE, R.C.A. (1928-2021)

Canadian Fine Arts Gallery, Toronto, ON;
Mayberry Fine Art, Toronto, ON;
Private collection, British Columbia


When Rita Letendre painted Trombe in 1959, she was already regarded in Montreal as a painter of accomplishment and expectation. After leaving Montreal’s École des Beaux-Arts in 1948, frustrated with its attitudes and teaching, Letendre discovered Paul-Émile Borduas and the Automatistes, and made a personal commitment to paint as her metier. She developed quickly and participated in exhibitions organised by Borduas, Claude Gauvreau and Gilles Corbeil. Prodigiously, she had several solo exhibitions by the end of the 1950s, when Robert Ayre complimented her work for becoming firmer and more compact, and the fluency and confidence the work of this period showed.

This is all here in Trombe. Her keen sensitivity to colour and tone give Trombe an intimacy unmatched by some of her peers working on small paintings. Where theirs can suggest a fragment of a larger painting, hers are self-contained worlds. Trombe's carefully-calibrated white, black, slate blue and greys easily draw one into meditation or reverie. The pulls of paint evoke Jean Paul Riopelle done with care instead of velocity and further her distinct understanding of Borduas to her own ends. Letendre’s style was her own, and what she picked up from Borduas most importantly was his example of being completely immersed in the making of each work. This influenced her commitment to paint and to making art for personal self-knowledge.


Surface dust. Some craquelure, mostly in areas of black paint. Two small accretions in bottom right corner may be artist generated. Overall very good condition.

Please contact the specialist for further condition information.

LOT 17

About Condition Ratings

  • 5 Stars: Excellent - No discernable damage, flaws or imperfections
  • 4 Stars: Very Good - Minor flaws or imperfections visible only under close inspection using specialised instruments or black light
  • 3 Stars: Good - Minor flaws visible upon inspection under standard lighting
  • 2 Stars: Fair - Exhibits flaws or damage that may draw the eye under standard lighting
  • 1 Star: Poor - Flaws or damage immediately apparent under standard lighting (examples: missing components, rips, broken glass, damaged surfaces, etc.)

Note: Condition ratings and condition details are the subjective opinions of our specialists and should be used as a guide only. Waddington’s uses due care when preparing condition details, however, our staff are not professional restorers or conservators. Condition details and reports are not warranties and each lot is sold “as is” in accordance with the buyer’s terms and conditions of sale. In all cases the prospective purchaser is responsible for inspecting the property themselves prior to placing a bid.