ArtworksRita MountVent du nord (A Stiff Sou’wester), 19301888-1967CAD 2,000
Inscriptionssigned and dated, 'Rita Mount, 1930' (lower left); inscribed, 'South westerly breeze' (verso, upper left quadrant); titled, 'Vent du Nord - / [illegible]' (verso, centre); titled, 'A stiff sou'wester' (verso, centre)
ProvenanceOdette Archam Gault.
Private collection, Montreal.“Outstanding seascapes by Rita Mount…” announced La Presse’s art critic Albert Laberge in the headline to his review of the RCA exhibition of 1929. “There is so much strength in the style and one would never dare to suggest this by a woman …” (1), Laberge continues. (In the same exhibition review Laberge also highlights the virtues of Prudence Heward’s now famous Au Théâtre.)
Rita Mount was a regular contributor to the annual Spring Exhibition at The Art Association of Montreal (AAM) from an early age, exhibiting first in 1903 when she was maybe 18 years of age and only appears to have missed representation twice from 1910 through to 1950. Insofar as she exhibited for the last time in 1953, passed away as late as 1967, and the AAM exhibitions continuing through to 1965, it might be safe to assume that she was no longer active painting from the early 1950s.
What biographical material exists is scant but documented in a Dictionary of Canadian Artists and on the excellent Concordia University website for the Canadian Women's Art History Initiative (2). There is a limited archive at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec in Montreal. Rita Mount was the daughter of Docteur et Mme. P.E. Mount and lived in the family home until she relocated literally a block away when her address is also that of her brother René. Come the late 1940s, Rita Mount moved to a different part of the city of Montreal where she shared a home with her sister, Marie. Mount’s annual contributions to the AAM allow researchers to trace her sketching trips from her Montreal home to Lake Louise as early as 1919, to Charlevoix and by 1920 the Gaspé, a region she painted regularly, almost annually after that first visit. Her painting places in the Gaspé would be very much reminiscent of our painting of fishing boats, accompanied by the locations of Grande Riviere, Port Daniel, Newport, Petite Rivière au Renard, Gaspé, and Percé, Cap Barré. The archive has numerous small photos taken by Rita Mount in Gaspé.
In 1943, the acclaimed director of Quebec’s museum, (Le Musée de la Province de Québec) Paul Rainville, put on an exhibition of Rita Mount’s paintings La Gaspésie et le Cap-Breton. In his opening remarks he spoke poetically of her paintings of the Gaspé and Cape Breton region;
“[Blanche Lamontagne] used to sing beautifully penned lyrics about the sunny Gaspé peninsula. Each year, [Rita Mount] visits her beloved Gaspé which she, likewise, sings in her own manner - in her solid, well-balanced craft, firm and steady draughtsmanship, and subtle, harmonious tones.”
“In her heart and in her hand, she holds [...] the blue skies of our great gulf, and, through her strokes, the little boats belonging to our brave Gaspesian fishermen become as many luminous and serene naves, hulls shimmering in shades of gold and snow, ochre and crimson.” (3)
1-Royal Canadian Academy Annual Exhibition: (Montreal, November 21, 1929) Albert Laberge. "Nouvelle visite au Salon de l'Académie Royale Canadienne. Remarquables scènes de la mer par Rita Mount, magistral portrait de femme par Wayman Adams, et scènes des champs par James Graham." La Presse (Montreal) December 06, 1929. P.17.
2-Musée du Québec. Exposition des peintures de Rita Mount, A.R.C.A.: La Gaspésie et le Cap-Breton. Québec: Musée de Québec, 1943, p.1, https://cwahi.concordia.ca/sources/artists/nameSearch.php?artist=Mount. [Accessed 25 August 2020]
3-Musée du Québec. Exposition des peintures de Rita Mount, A.R.C.A.: La Gaspésie et le Cap-Breton. Québec: Musée de Québec, 1943, p.1