The McCord Museum has just announced the extraordinary acquisition of one of the world’s foremost private collections of stone lithographs from magic’s Golden Age. And, just as significant, the acquisition of a superb Houdiniana collection of posters, playbills, correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks and ephemera of Houdini.
Emmanuelle Gattuso, through her philanthropic foundation – La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso – donated the funds to acquire the collection which she placed in her husband’s name, media mogul Allan Slaight, with the McCord Museum.
The Slaight name is synonymous with philanthropy. In addition to their landmark donations to (among other things) cancer research, the Slaights are also major supporters of the arts in Canada. One of those arts is magic. Their support for it, through Magicana and all of our programs, has been unwavering. Quite simply, we could not do what we do without their support.
Their magic interest, of course, stems from Allan Slaight’s lifelong love of magic. He started performing magic as a youth, toured across Western Canada as a mentalist, and moonlighted as a magician while he was in the formative stages of building an empire, based initially on rock’n’roll radio. Somehow, while assembling this billion dollar business, Allan found the time to host magic conferences, and to write and produce 3,000 pages on his magical mentor, the great Canadian inventor, Stewart James.
So magic has been a big part of Allan’s life for well over seventy years, and the Slaight-Gatusso household for over twenty-five.
While the news of this donation is big, for those who know Gattusso and Slaight, it is not the least bit surprising.
In subsequent posts, I will provide some insight into how the deal was done, the nature of the contents, and why it was placed with the McCord Museum.
- DAVID BEN