Purposes of the Guido Molinari Foundation
It is trite to affirm that the primary reason for the existence of the Foundation is the will of Guido Molinari. In this start of the Twenty-First Century, artists’ foundations are far from scarce and the reasons which justify their creation are often the same: perpetuation of the memory of the artist; documentation on the artist’s life and work; and a place to store and show the artist’s works which remain, whether on purpose or not, unsold. It is clear that ego plays a role in the decision of an artist to create his or her own foundation.
And it is clear that Guido Molinari was no wilting violet when it came time to judge the value of his own work. In his case, at least, it so happens that many other people share his view, and the passage of time seems to justify their conclusion.
The life of Guido Molinari in no way corresponds to the cliché of the poor, bohemian artist, eking out a meager livelihood from his art. On the contrary, he proved to be a shrewd investor, particular in real estate and in collecting of works by other artists. He much resembles certain American artists who achieve material comfort well before their death and who thereby gain the necessary serenity to properly measure the impact of their death and to take measures appropriate to reach certain objectives, including some that they may not have succeeded in carrying out while alive.
It is not fortuitous that the artist bequeathed to his Foundation, the building he had acquired twenty years before his death and which he had transformed into working and living premises. The Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district where he was born and grew up, always had been a meaningful place for him and the logic of pursuing his lifetime work in the area was self-evident. Did he know at the time of purchasing this former bank branch that this imposing building would eventually serve to exhibit his work for coming generations, as a sort of cultural center? Probably not, but the premises were already very well frequented during his lifetime, with the presence of students, professionals, colleagues, family, friends and the curious, and already constituted a focus for his world. Since the Foundation has been in residence in the premises, several persons from various backgrounds have recounted memories of being present, for brief or long periods, in this fulcrum of creativity. The eponymous string quartet was formed in the building, where it also held its first concerts. In these premises, films were shot, photos were taken and interviews were granted. It is therefore fully appropriate that these premises be the centre of activities for the Guido Molinari Foundation
The “legal” mandate which guides the Foundation is dictated by two sources, namely the artist’s will and the charter of the Foundation as a corporation established while the artist was still alive, with his knowledge and at his request. In the charter, to which Part 2 of the statute now known as the Canadian Non-Profit Corporations Act, gives legal standing, it is stated that there are four corporate purposes to the Foundation, namely :
- “(a) to keep and collect works by the painter Guido Molinari;
- (b) maintain a museum of reference for the works by the painter Guido Molinari;
- (c) provide bursaries to artists in order to favour their artistic development; and
- (d) to exhibit the works of Guido Molinari and other artists of the contemporary period”.
This text is somewhat lacking in elegance, and represents primarily the efforts of a notary or lawyer to satisfy tax legislation, rather than words indicative of great causes or noble intentions. However, these precepts are in essence what guides the Foundation in its activities.
The artist’s will adds that the building must be used to conserve and exhibit the works of the artist and to “exhibit and promote as well as those of other Québec artists and as a result have an educational vocation for the benefit of the Québec public”.