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 Marthe Rakine  (c. 1906 - )

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Lived/Active: Ontario / Canada/Switzerland      Known for: portrait, figure, landscape, cityscape, still life and interior painting, ceramics, drawing

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
Marthe Rakine
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Marthe Rakine (c. 1906) (1)

A prominent Canadian painter, Marthe Rakine (aka: Marthe de Rakine) was born in Moscow, Russia; grew up in Paris, France; and, only lived in Toronto, Canada for about ten years (1948 – 1958) before returning to Europe, some sources say to Lausanne, Switzerland, where she appears to have lived for the rest of her life. Her works are in the collections of several major Canadian museums including the National Gallery of Canada and her paintings were included in some important exhibitions such as the Canadian Biennial and the Pittsburgh International (now the Carnegie International*). (2)(3)

Her best known mediums are oils and watercolors; however, she did study ceramics at the Ontario College of Art and there are also works by her, in museum collections, in ink, felt pen, crayon, mixed mediums and wood. Her subjects were portraits, figures, landscapes, cityscapes, still life and interiors. Her styles could be described as Abstraction*, Fauvism* and Modernism*. AskART Images have some good illustrations of her work.

Rakine’s education includes studies at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs*, Paris, (1926); the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere*, Paris (1937), under Othon Friesz; and at the Ontario College of Art*, Toronto (1949 – 1950).

She was a member of the Ontario Society of Artists* (1953) and the Canadian Group of Painters* (1956).

She exhibited with Salon des Independants* (from 1932), the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* (1950, 1951, 1953 and 1954), the Canadian Group of Painters* (1952 and 1962), and the Ontario Society of Artists* (1953).

Her works were included in the National Gallery of Canada Annual Exhibition in 1953 and the Second Biennial of Canadian Art in 1957. They were also shown in the Pittsburgh International Exhibition of Contemporary Painting, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh (1952); “Let’s Face It: An Exhibition of Contemporary Portraits”, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Texas (1956); “Ayala and Samuel Zacks Collection”, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and touring (1956 – 1957); and, posthumously (?), in “The Female Perspective: Emily Carr to the present”, Gallery Lambton, Sarnia, Ontario (1998); and in “1953”, Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario (2003).

The venues for her solo shows included Hart House, University of Toronto (1951); Eaton Fine Art Galleries, Toronto (1951); the Picture Loan Society*, Toronto (1952); Laing Galleries, Toronto (1953); Gallery XII, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1954); and Waddington Galleries, Montreal (1957).

According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* and individual museum websites, her works are in the permanent collections of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston, Ontario), Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ontario), Art Gallery of Northumberland (Cobourg, Ontario), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Hart House (University of Toronto, Ontario), London Public Library (London, Ontario), Macdonald Stewart Art Centre [University of Guelph Art Collection] (Guelph, Ontario), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec), Winnipeg Art Gallery (Manitoba) and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa).
(1) Please note: Most sources show 1906 or c.1906 as Rakine’s birth year; however: the National Gallery of Canada website specifically says November 20, 1905; the books Art Gallery of Ontario – The Canadian Collection and Creative Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth Century Creative and Performing Arts (see AskART book references) both only say November 20 with no birth year; and the Canadian Heritage Information Network* says 1926 – which appears to be a gross error.

(2) Please note: Her husband (c.1937) was the sculptor and painter Boris Rakine (b.1905). Unfortunately, none of our sources mention a birth name for Marthe; they only mention a Swiss father and a French mother. Source: A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume 6, "Perrin – Rakine” (see AskART book references).

(3) Please note: “It is believed that she is deceased as no word has been received from her since 1982.” Source: Roberts Gallery, Toronto.
Biographical Index of Artists in Canada (2003), by Evelyn de Rostaing McMann (see AskART book references)

1953 (2003), by Ihor Holubizky and Robert McKaskell (see AskART book references)

The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction
(2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar (see AskART book references)

North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century: A Biographical Dictionary (1995), by Jules Heller and Nancy G. Heller (see AskART book references)

Art and Architecture in Canada (1991), by Loren R. Lerner and Mary F. Williamson (see AskART book references)

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: Spring Exhibitions 1880 – 1970 (1988), by Evelyn de R. McMann (see AskART book references)

Royal Canadian Academy of Arts: Exhibitions and Members, 1880 – 1979 (1981), by Evelyn de R. McMann (see AskART book references)

The University of Guelph Art Collection: A Catalogue of Paintings, Drawings, Prints and Sculpture (1980), by Judith M. Nasby (see AskART book references)

A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume 6, Perrin – Rakine (1975), by Colin S. MacDonald (see AskART book references)

Creative Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth Century Creative and Performing Arts (1972), by Helen M. Rodney (see AskART book references)

Art Gallery of Ontario – The Canadian Collection (1970), by Helen Pepall Bradfield (see AskART book references)

Agnes Etherington Art Centre (1968), by Frances K. Smith (see AskART book references)

The National Gallery of Canada: Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture, Volume III (1960), by R.H. Hubbard (see AskART book references)

Second Biennial of Canadian Art, 1957 (1957), by Donald W Buchanan (see AskART book references)

The 1952 Pittsburgh International Exhibition of Contemporary Painting (1952), by Gordon Washburn (see AskART book references)

Canadian Heritage Information Network*

Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art (OSA exhibitions)

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

Written and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
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