Artwork by Guido Molinari,  Untitled (Triangular Structure)

Guido Molinari
Untitled (Triangular Structure)

acrylic on canvas
signed (twice) and dated “5/71” & 1971 on the reverse
45 x 40 ins ( 114.3 x 101.6 cms )

Auction Estimate: $60,000.00$40,000.00 - $60,000.00

Price Realized $45,600.00
Sale date: June 15th 2022

Galerie Louis Lacerte, Montreal (2004)
Private Collection, Montreal
Pierre Théberge, “Guido Molinari”, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1976, pages 35 and 45
In 1968, Guido Molinari participated in several exhibitions throughout Canada and abroad, also travelling to Rome, where he reflected deeply on his work. At the same time he became increasingly interested in rhythm, over and above his previous focus on the function of mass in his paintings. “Untitled (Triangular Structure)” invades the spectator’s field of vision, creating a pictorial space via the viewer’s perception of the rhythm and movement of the colourful triangles. Because of their equal size and strategic colouring, these shapes form optical vibrations through each viewer’s system of perception.

In 1969, renowned Canadian art historian François-Marc Gagnon analyzed the role of the viewer in Molinari’s paintings. “Contemplating the painting in an overall way, so to speak, attempting to grasp the composition all at once,” he says, “becomes nearly impossible.” Rather, Gagnon continues, “Molinari invites his viewer to actually ‘read’ his painting, in a ‘horizontal sweep’ from left to right, or right to left, of the pictorial area. All of the pictorial area is transformed into an energy field.” Accordingly, the key component of “Untitled (Triangular Structure)” exists not in the picture field but in its relationship to its spectator.

Gagnon also comments on Molinari’s strategic use of colour and the relationships between colours in his paintings, writing that “each plane takes on a value relative to the preceding plane. [...] In this space, colour planes, far from being fixed in space (warm colours in the forefront, cold colours in the background), are in constant motion, perpetually ‘coming and going’, which caused the painter to remark that his colours ‘breathed’.” In “Untitled (Triangular Structure)”, the bright pink and blue seem to pop out at the viewer the most, with the dark red receding into the background, creating this ‘breathing’ or ‘rhythm’ effect.

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Guido Molinari
(1933 - 2004) Les Plasticiens

Guido Molinari was born in Montreal in 1933. He studied briefly at the School of Design at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1950-51), and began making drawings and paintings combining automatic methods with a disciplined approach. He was a leader in the development of a rigorous colour abstraction movement in Montreal. Characteristic of his paintings in the 1960s were vertical, hard-edged bands of colour. Pictorial space in these paintings was created by the spectator’s perception of the shifting and mixing of colours.

In 1956 Molinari was a founding member of the Association des Artistes Non-Figuratifs de Montreal. He exhibited at the Biennale in Venice in 1968, where he was awarded the David E. Bright Foundation prize. In 1977 he participated in the Paris Biennale, and in 1980 he was awarded the Paul-Emile Borduas Prize by the Quebec government. Molinari, who taught at Concordia University until 1997, exerted a powerful influence on younger artists, through his teaching, his theoretical writing and his opinions, firmly held and strongly stated.