(Transcription of speech of Antoni Gelonch Viladegut in the ‘vernissage’ of “La permanence de la gravure: de Dürer à Goya” exhibition, Montolieu, 05/26/2012)
Today I am an especially happy man. I am happy to be here in Montolieu to participate in the opening of a beautiful exhibition featuring my Collection of engravings. For an art collector, showing the works which are the focus of his care and his gathering is always, at least in my opinion, a moment of enjoyment, friendship and sharing.
But, how did I end up becoming an art collector? It seems that already very early I had a natural tendency to be ordered, to meticulousness and to keep/beware things. This can challenge the patience of people around you and is very bad when you have to make a moving. But this is what eventually produced, in my case, in connection with art, moments of utmost satisfaction; it became a source of consolidation of my choices and of my aesthetic preferences.
As human condition makes us desire mostly what we do not have, or what we have in an insufficient degree, and given that I had no artistic gift myself, I eventually became collector of art, and I decided to gather works which, not being exclusive, were more affordable. This was to explain my choice of engraving, which was always consolidated.
When I began to buy some works I thought of no way eventually constitute a collection. As in the debuts of the engraving, more than 500 years ago, these works began at home with an instructive or ornamental function, but little by little I tried to know, to refine, to study and to value the various periods, the styles and the techniques, so that today you can contemplate a representative sample. A result which is increased by the Collection’s website and by its presence in different social networks.
I was lucky to have the advice of informed persons, gallery owners who became friends and friends who provided me their enlightened opinion. If this Collection has some interest, it is thanks to them, and they know what I’m talking about. In any case, I am delighted to be able to continue to value their support and their expert advice. I’m speaking naturally, among others, about Mr. Francesc Mestre, gallery owner of Barcelona, who advises and guides me through the world of engraving and who is at the origin of this exhibition “The permanence of engraving : from Durer to Goya “.
Another question you may ask is why I decided to present my collection in Montolieu, except the decisive action of Mr. Mestre.
Well, thanks to a set of circumstances, among which I would like to distinguish:
– The warm welcome and the extreme kindness that always showed me people of the association “Montolieu, village du livre “,
– My particular affection and esteem for France,
– Because it is about a project built with a perspective of continuation over time, and this is just the first phase of cooperation and a project built over 3 years,
– The fact of finding here enthusiastic people, people able of taking their responsibilities, who do not complain about what they don’t have and would make nothing to change things.
Thank you for the opportunities which I found here, for the constant encouragement and for the support of the organizers.
Therefore I am happy today to take part to this inauguration in Montolieu. Because I believe, today as I always believed, that the vocation of a Collection is to be shown, so that all can take advantage of it, so that it contributes to widen the cultural experiences, so that it offers opportunities for young people to learn about the world of art, and because it has to allow a diffusion towards those who have most difficulties reaching the culture.
I am satisfied because I can speak about realities. Because I like to be here with people who work, who fight to move forward, who have limited means, but who have ideas and certain appetite; because art has to become accessible; because it is necessary to spread the beauty; and because we all deserve a better quality of life.
I shall stop now: thanks to all of you, from the bottom of my heart. Thanks to my family, thanks to the friends here, to the friends who came and to those who will come from Catalonia, from Spain and from France. I hope and wish to all the people I know and to all the visitors who will come, that this exhibition represents a moment of introspection, questioning, enjoyment and serenity. Art, in my opinion, does not have any other object.