oil on canvas
199.5 x 228.7 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 18015)
© Rita Letendre
Rita Letendre painted "Atara" during a stay in Israel with the sculptor Kosso Eloul. The title is a reference to the name of a popular meeting place for Tel Aviv artists, but she also liked the sound of the word. Letendre exhibited with the Automatistes during the 1950s, when she was still "fascinated by the immobility of Aztec art". In the early 1960s, her work evolved toward a kind of art that was "more passionate, more agitated, more tragic", art that displayed increased energy. She maintains that her taste for striking contrasts between bright or warm colours and stark blacks has its source in her Abenaki heritage.