The National Gallery of Canada saddened by loss of Canadian painter Guido Molinari
Ottawa, Canada - February 23, 2004
Le Musée des beaux-arts du Canada pleure le décès du peintre canadien Guido Molinari
It is with great sadness that the National Gallery of Canada has learned of the death of Canadian artist Guido Molinari, who passed away Saturday February 21 of complications from lung cancer at the age of 70.
Molinari, who was born in Montreal on October 12, 1933, became a major figure in the avant-garde movement. Even though he earned a reputation as the enfant terrible of Quebec and Canadian abstract painters, his contributions won him Quebec’s highest artistic honour, the Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas, in 1980. He also won the David E. Bright Foundation award at the 34th Venice Biennale.
"I am very saddened by this immense loss for Canadian art, known by its precision and consistency. Since 1963, Guido Molinari’s work has enriched our permanent collection and in 1976, the National Gallery was the first to organize an extensive retrospective of his work," commented Pierre Théberge, Director of the National Gallery of Canada.
The National Gallery currently owns 69 of Molinari’s works, including the 1965 Rhythmic Mutation No. 9, which presently hangs in the Canadian Galleries. This painting, with its highly distinct, juxtaposed bands of colour and complete lack of horizontal elements, exemplifies Molinari’s style of painting in the 1960s. Other dominant themes running through his body of work include the Black and White paintings of 1956, the Plasticien works of 1958-1962, and the checkerboard and triangular works of 1969 to 1975. The Gallery owns Homage to Samuel Beckett, a series of four steel sculptures located on the Plaza. The NGC also features one of his amazing works, dated 1987, Dance / Sigh, in a brilliant shade of red that is almost three meters by four meters consisting or several arched panels.
Guido Molinari took the first step in his long career as an artist at the age of 15, when he enrolled in night classes at the École des Beaux-Arts in Montreal, studying with formalist painters Marian Scott and Gordon Webber. Although he never completed his formal education, his large-scale colour paintings became instrumental in the development and transformation of Canadian art since the 1960s. His works are displayed in many galleries both in Canada and abroad.
Molinari taught at Concordia University in Montreal for 27 years until he retired in 1997; he won the school’s 2003 Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching.
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