L’Actuelle, a non-figurative art gallery (1955-1957)

 

March 10 trough June 12, 2016

The Guido Molinari Foundation presented an exhibition which told the story of the L’Actuelle gallery. This little known episode in the development of the visual arts in Quebec got underway on May 28th, 1955, when Molinari and journalist Fernande Saint-Martin opened a gallery entirely devoted to non-figurative art, an art form often held in low esteem at the time by society generally, as well as by museums and galleries.

 

L’Actuelle will remain open to the public until May 19th, 1957. Its impact on Montreal life was meteoric: some thirty exhibitions in 24 months, long  opening hours and media coverage extensive to a degree unknown until then (and for good reason: the gallery held solo shows in turn by Borduas, Mousseau, Barbeau, Leduc, Letendre, Ulysse Comtois, McEwen, Toupin, Belzile, Jean-Paul Jérôme, Bellefleur, Giguère, Blair, Claude Tousignant and of course Molinari himself, alongside a few memorable group shows). Basically a sort of inventory of non-figurative art by a group of artists who exhibited at that time the work which is now considered to represent the golden age of their production.

Under the title L’Actuelle, galerie d’art non-figuratif (1955-1957), we presented some of the most interesting works shown in that legendary venue, accompanied by an abundantly illustrated monograph highlighting specific, often unpublished, information and historical documents relating to what was a  very significant display space for contemporary art.  For good measure, the Foundation staff also invited the participation of noted art historian Lise Lamarche.

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