John Little’s street scenes from the 1960s and 1970s are sensitive depictions of Montreal and Quebec City architecture at a time of tremendous post-war urban transformation. Like many of his paintings during this period, Rue Richelieu, Québec (1963) is set in winter. In this scene, grey skies illuminate the pure white snowbanks between which cars and pedestrians travel, leaving tracks that vanish between the buildings on the horizon.
John Little was born in Montreal, Quebec, in 1928. He studied for two years at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts under Arthur Lismer and Goodridge Roberts. He later went to New York, where he attended the Art Students League and studied under Will Barnet and Frank J. Reilley. On his return to Montreal in 1951, he became a draughtsman in his father’s architectural firm (Luke and Little). After marrying in 1953, he devoted himself to painting full-time. Little won wide acclaim for his street scenes, and his paintings of Old Montreal and Quebec City streets, houses, and countryside were exhibited at the Watson Art Galleries. Little also produced covers for Maclean’s magazine, in which he combined his sense of humour with his artistic abilities to portray Canadians at work and play. His works can be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Sir George Williams University Collection of Art (Concordia University), and many private collections.