Archives - Inauguration of the Maeght Foundation

Inauguration of the Maeght Foundation, on the left, my grandfather, then André Malraux and Marc Chagall surrounded by photographers and journalists.
Excerpt from La Saga Maeght: "On the evening of the inauguration, Chagall interviewed said, moved: “Only Aimé Maeght could do that. »

The Foundation became, for the hard worker Miró, a fantastic source of inspiration, as the abundant correspondence between him and Papy attests. “Dear Aimé, Dear Guiguite,” he wrote in December 1965, “sending you my best wishes for Christmas and the New Year, I at the same time make my deepest wishes for the glory of the Foundation. May this glorious conquering enterprise take a new stage and be the dawn of a mentality free from old prejudices. I work with more enthusiasm than ever, thinking of what I still have to do in Saint-Paul. I kiss you with all my heart, Joan. »
However, what a risky bet for Grandpa. How, far from the capital, far from Parisian intellectualism, on this almost inaccessible hill, yes, how will he attract the crowds? Devoting yourself to the great classical masters is out of the question. Just like in his adventure with the gallery, what he wants, what he hopes, is to introduce new artists, notably Tàpies, Kelly, Chillida and Alechinsky, who were completely unknown at the time. He also knows that art lovers still shun artists like Calder, Bram Van Velde, Ubac. Even Giacometti's works remain confidential. With the Foundation, he wants to impose them on everyone.

Inauguration of the Maeght Foundation on July 28, 1964.
While André Malraux looks at the photographers' lenses, Aimé and Marguerite Maeght gaze at their granddaughters Florence (who is holding the cushion on which the key to the Foundation is placed) and Yoyo.

During the sumptuous dinner given in the Giacometti courtyard, Aimé Maeght, surrounded by his most loyal supporters, the artists, stood up and said a few words. Malraux replied as follows:

I would like to try to clarify, beyond all the services you have rendered to the country throughout your entire life - because all this is the end of a life, not a sort of accident - I would like to try to clarify how this seems to me to be something quite different from a foundation and, if I may, how this evening perhaps has a historical character [...].

You have just tried here, by the fact that you have tried to probably summarize the sequence of loves of a life, by the fact that the painters who are there all happen to be, to some degree, either poets or men who powerfully express the poetry of our time, you have attempted to do something which is in no way a palace, in no way a place of decoration and, let's say it straight away, because the misunderstanding will grow and beautify, in no way a museum. This is not a museum.

When we were looking earlier at the piece of garden where the Mirós are, the same thing was happening as when we were looking at the room where the Chagalls were. These little horns that Miró reinvents with their incredible dreamlike power are creating in your garden with nature in the sense of trees, a relationship that has never been created.

When we talk about the foundation, the most famous American, that is to say Barnes, if she were here, she would have no connection with what you have done, she would be fifty years behind, because as admirable as she is is, she is a museum. But, here is attempted, with a result that we do not have to judge and which belongs to posterity, something is attempted that has never been attempted: to create the universe, to create instinctively and through love, the universe in which modern art could find both its place and this back world which was once called the supernatural [...].

Madam, Sir, I raise my glass to the one who, later, when in the place that was Paris the murmuring and leaning people bow, having written " here the painting grew between the paving stones " will come here and say " this report which is now our relationship with life and which is born from painting, it was perhaps obscurely born this night .” And when this no longer exists, then the man to whom I raise my glass will make a little inscription: “ Perhaps something of the spirit happened here. »

What moment !
Ella Fitzgerald sings at the Maeght Foundation alongside a sculpture by Alberto Giacometti.
I describe this evening this way in “La Saga Maeght”.

"Today, July 28, 1964, is the big day of the inauguration. A magical evening is planned. Ella Fitzgerald and Montand are going to sing. Mamy, in her vaporous long dress, is nervous, she comes and goes, rectifies, takes care of all the details. The employees are reviewed, she does not hesitate to sew up a fold of this one's tunic herself, to put a rebellious lock in the bun of that one. dogs are inspected, Mamy makes sure that they are thoroughly brushed because they will, of course, be part of the party. She controls everything: these flowers are discarded, too fragrant, this faded water lily must be removed from the pond. entrance, the gravel from the paths must be carefully raked. She also examines the surrounding area because, to access the Foundation, there is only a thin ribbon of tar that winds through the woods from the village, even the small road is swept. Each guest is provided with a pass. The gendarmes try to channel away the large limousines and sedans of official figures who clutter the surrounding area, the press cars get in the way while the vans of the last workers pass the arrivals.
We children are not aware of this disorder. We live there, on the hill, in the house that Sert designed. Here we are, the three little Maeghts, dressed identically, three model little girls. Flo's long hair, like mine, is disciplined in beautiful buns, Isa's bangs are straightened down to the last hair, we laugh with the artists' children. As usual, the little Roux ones are with us, we're laughing happily. At Mamy's request, we catch the noisy frogs which could, a little later, disturb "The First Lady of Jazz". Suddenly, Flo's smile tightens, I turn around, why all these gendarmes, all these soldiers in uniform? They advance among divinely dressed guests, the tuxedo is required and the long dresses are even more beautiful than in the magazines. Only the entrance garden is accessible. Grandpa, smiling, radiant, gathered all three of us in front of him, facing André Malraux. There on a red cushion lies a golden key. Flo hands the precious present to Malraux, with a turn of the key, he opens the Foundation. The flashes crackle, the crowd rushes, Grandpa doesn't let go of my hand. I then understand that it is not our new home that we are celebrating this evening, but everyone's home."

A few minutes before the inauguration of the Maeght Foundation, on July 28, 1964, Alberto Giacometti and Josep Lluis Sert, architect of the Foundation, discussed in the Giacometti Courtyard, in front of the bronze "Large head of Diego". (Diego being Alberto's brother). In the background, we can see the bronzes “Women of Venice”.
This courtyard will become one of the elements of the Foundation known worldwide.