Léo Ayotte was born in Sainte-Flore, Quebec, in 1909.
His father was a cabinetmaker and his mother, a housewife. Even though he was an extremely talented writer, nothing interested him more than drawing. In 1938, Ayotte left his native Mauricie and settled in Montreal. Here, he found himself unemployed and penniless. For a while, Ayotte was a live model at “l’École des beaux-arts de Montréal” to then be given a janitorial position. While cleaning, he acquired invaluable knowledge by listening attentively to the professors' lessons. The time he spent at “l’École des beaux-arts de Montréal” turned out to be decisive for his artistic career.
Before long, Ayotte found himself an apartment on Saint-Christopher Street, which would later become his workshop for more than thirty years. Ayotte gave up drinking in 1958, overcoming his addiction once and for all, through sheer willpower. From that moment on, he produced his most striking paintings thanks to his new outlook on life and newly found energy. With his strength and spontaneity, Ayotte was one of a few artists who could masterfully seize the moment. His pictorial history of Quebec is undeniably significant.
Léo Ayotte lost a long and difficult battle with cancer in December, 1976.
- Magazin’Art, Spring 2010 edition, pg.155-158