Lot Sale Results

Guido Molinari

Guido Molinari

Guido Molinari
Spring 2017 - 1st Session Live auction

Lot # 013

Guido Molinari
AANFM LP QMG RCA SAPQ 1933 - 2004 Canadian

Sériel bleu-vert athématique
acrylic on canvas
on verso signed, titled on labels, dated 3/69 and inscribed "G.M.-T-1969-12"
72 x 60 in  182.9 x 152.4cm

Fondation Guido Molinari / Guido Molinari Foundation, Montreal

Bienal de Arte Coltejer, Medellin, Colombia, May 1 - June 20, 1970

Guido Molinari joined the avant-garde group Les Plasticiens in 1956. Dedicated to exploring the profundities of abstract art in ever more refined ways, he and the other Plasticiens reacted against the Expressionist and Surrealist influence that they found in Quebec’s earlier movement dedicated to abstraction, Les Automatistes. As art historian Roald Nasgaard has pointed out, the relationship between the two groups in Quebec parallels that in the USA between Clement Greenberg’s Post-Painterly Abstraction and earlier American Abstract Expressionism. The paintings of Molinari and his confrères are, however, distinct from both their European and their American cousins.
Molinari is much acclaimed in Quebec, across Canada and internationally for the chromatic boldness yet abiding subtlety of his paintings. Sériel bleu-vert athématique is a classic example of one of his most important series, the so-called stripe paintings of the 1960s. This example builds on Molinari’s experiments in abstraction from the 1950s, when he opened the Galerie l’Actuelle in Montreal (the first in Canada dedicated to abstract art) and was active in both Les Plasticiens and the Non-Figurative Artists’ Association of Montreal.
Rigorous rather than rigid, Molinari sought to rid painting of lingering Cubist space, the sense of objects placed in a three-dimensional container. The six vertical stripes here are of the same width and saturation; they cover the entire surface of the work, leaving no room for the perception of depth or formal juxtapositions in space. Molinari believed that his removal of illusion served to heighten colour and to intensify the optical interaction of the colour bands in our perception.
Sériel bleu-vert athématique is a powerful invitation to perceptual experience. Our eyes find seemingly endless movement as they react to the strong colours and assertive shapes. We inevitably seek a pattern or system. For example, if we perceive the stripes individually, we see a six-part, left-to-right sequence of green / blue / orange, green / orange / blue. Taking the vertical bands as pairs, we find green / blue, orange / green, orange / blue. Perceived as triplets, we can construe two rhythms, green / blue / orange and green / orange / blue. Many other permutations are possible, but it is important to note that none of these patterns repeat. Molinari’s point and the effect of the painting is that there is no one “correct” resting place.
The bleu-vert of his title orients us to the work’s “root” (athématique) or key relationship but does not restrict our experience of the painting. Neither does it necessarily predict what would happen if the canvas were to expand. Stimulating as the immediate perceptual experience of this painting is, however, for Molinari there is always a larger, metaphysical point to make. Following the scientific theories of Alfred Korzybski via the analyses of Fernande Saint-Martin, the polymathic writer and cultural innovator whom Molinari met in 1953 and married in 1958, he did not seek a fixed essence through his painting, but rather a way to convey reality’s constant dynamism and complexity.
Molinari was a noted teacher at Concordia University. Through his many exhibitions, his writings, and indeed this painting, he tirelessly circulated new ideas about abstract art well beyond the classroom and his home province. As the label on the back of this painting shows, Sériel bleu-vert athématique was exhibited in 1970 in the short-lived but influential Bienal de Arte Coltejer, in Medellin, Colombia.
We thank Mark Cheetham, Professor of Art History at the University of Toronto and author of Postmodernism: Trends in Canadian Art, 1970 – 1990, for contributing the above essay.
The consignor sale proceeds of this lot will benefit the Fondation Guido Molinari / Guido Molinari Foundation.

Estimate: $90,000 ~ $120,000 CAD

Sold For: $103,250.00 CAD (including buyer's premium)

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