.Maeght Foundation - Construction

Aimé Maeght wishes to establish his foundation on the hill of Saint Paul near the family home, Mas Bernard, named after their deceased son. During the clearing of the forest, the remains of a modest chapel were unearthed which turned out to be dedicated to Saint-Bernard. Aimé sees this as a troubling sign.

For the Maeght, there are no great achievements without love, without belief. In Marguerite's -Christian- view, this sign is obvious: we must start by rebuilding the chapel. Sert seized on the idea to articulate the buildings around this building, like the houses of a traditional village around a church.

The idea of ​​a center of life appears in the image of a village plan. Josep Lluis Sert, as a humanist, designs architecture dedicated to artists and simple amateurs alike. A large entrance field, an agora, buildings around patios, a campanile for the chapel, a house for artists...

All the artists from the Maeght gallery, but also poets and loved ones are involved in the Foundation's adventure. Everyone has their own suggestion. Aimé listens, synthesizes, organizes. Each “Maeght” artist will be able to find their space at the Foundation and make it their own according to their talent. The artists know how to be traveling companions in the design of the Foundation, but, and above all, will be omnipresent throughout the life of the Foundation.

On the terrace of Mas Bernard, analysis of the plans of the Maeght Foundation by Marguerite Maeght, Alberto Giacometti, Louis Clayeux (then director of the Maeght Gallery and Josep-Lluis Sert.

Chagall wanted a room to exhibit only one monumental painting, the one he wanted to paint for this place, the project of his entire life. Conversely, Giacometti wants a room with intimate dimensions. Braque and Ubac designed the stained glass windows and stations of the cross in the chapel. Tal-Coat offers itself for the surrounding wall.

Work began on September 5, 1960. The artists were omnipresent and even picnicked on the site. The buildings rise out of the ground, playing on the slope of the ground to avoid monotony.

Sert can finally apply his theory of overhead lighting and develop his famous “light traps”. It also plays on the interior/exterior relationship with numerous openings onto nature which punctuate the exhibition spaces.

Sert plans walls in raw concrete, discovering local brick and stone, he favors them: The brick maintains the reality of the wall, giving its surface a body to its elevation. 300,000 pink sand bricks, fired in a wood-fired oven, from the nearby Clausonnes factory, reopened for the occasion, were used to build the Foundation. Aimé Maeght and Josep Lluis Sert share respect for the environment and nature, and a taste for real materials. The design is subject to climate constraints while taking into account energy management. The impluviums provide shade and coolness to buildings and collect rainwater which supplies the numerous ponds. The natural ventilation of the rooms provides the air conditioning necessary for the conservation of the works. The stones extracted from the basement are used to raise the walls... This new architectural approach will make it the first French building to qualify as HQU (High Environmental Quality).

Alberto Giacometti and Josep Lluis Sert

Each element is specifically designed by the artists, Alberto and Diego Giacometti take care of the lighting, the bronze furniture, right down to the door handles. Even the floor is made up of astonishingly shaped slabs. Braque traces his fish for a mosaic pond. Chagall also used mosaics to decorate the wall of the bookstore. A major place is reserved for the world of Miró. From the friendship between the Catalans Miró, Sert and the ceramist Josep Llorens Artigas, the fantastic labyrinth was born. Miró runs his breadcrumbs along the dry stone walls surrounding the marble, iron, ceramic and even concrete sculptures.

Four years were necessary for the construction of the complex, entirely financed by the Maeght, without state support.

The book La Saga Maeght by Yoyo Maeght, with dedication. Link here

The Maeght Saga by Yoyo Maeght