A large white backward-Z-shaped polygon zig-zags across the painting from lower left to upper right. The other two corners are occupied by black geometric shapes, a vertical rectangle and an unequal-sided quadrilateral. The arrangement of the masses and lines creates a balanced composition.

Guido Molinari

(Montréal 1933 – Montréal 2004)

 

Diagonale noire

[Black Diagonal]

1956

Reworked in 1967 and 1994

Enamel on canvas

130 x 155 cm

Guido Molinari Foundation

© Estate of Guido Molinari / SODRAC (2018)

Photo: Guido Molinari Foundation


Guido Molinari’s Diagonale noire [Black Diagonal] is composed of three flat, geometric figures, two black and one white. The simple shapes and their hard-edge outlines contribute to the work’s austere appearance. The chromatic tension between black and white and the asymmetrical lines produce a vibrating optical effect that animates the pictorial space. This work is one of the black and white paintings the artist produced in the late 1950s, heralding the second generation of Quebec’s Plasticiens.


Guido Molinari’s exploration of painting was self-taught, except for a few classes taken in Montréal. Initially influenced by the spontaneous, gestural style of the Automatistes, Molinari soon shifted to the rational approach of the Plasticiens, which he took a step further in flat-surfaced, rigorously non-referential paintings. In the 1960s, he produced his most famous hard-edge works, composed of vertical bands of colour. An active member of the art community, Molinari co-founded a gallery called L’Actuelle (1955-1957) with the art theorist Fernande St-Martin (b. 1927). L’Actuelle played a crucial role in the exhibition and promotion of non-figurative art in Montréal.

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3290 Sainte-Catherine Street East
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