.Aimé Maeght and André Malraux

Aimé Maeght and André Malraux in the exhibition "The Imaginary Museum of André Malraux", Maeght Foundation, July 1973.

July 28, 1964, delivery of the key of the Maeght Foundation by Flo.

Aimé, Flo and Yoyo, André Malraux and Marguerite Maeght.
In The Maeght Saga I trace the relationship Aimé Maeght - André Malraux as follows:
"Today, this July 28, 1964, is the big day of the inauguration of the Maeght Foundation. A magical evening is planned. Ella Fitzgerald and Montand will sing. Mamy, in her vaporous long dress, is nervous, she goes, comes, rectifies, cares about all the details. The employees are reviewed, she does not hesitate to sew herself a fold of tunic of this one, to put back a rebellious lock in the bun of that one. Even the dogs are inspected, Mamy makes sure that they are brushed for a long time because they will be, of course, of the party. She checks everything: these flowers are removed, too fragrant, this faded nymphea must be removed from the pool at the entrance, the gravel of the paths must be carefully raked. She also examines the surroundings because, to reach the Foundation, there is only a thin strip of tar that winds through the woods from the village, even the small road is swept. Each guest is given a pass. The gendarmes try to channel the big limousines and sedans of the officials that crowd the area, the press cars get in the way while the vans of the last workers cross the arrivals.
We, the children, are not aware of this disorder. We live there, on the hill, in the house that Sert designed. Here we are, the three Maeght girls, dressed identically, three little model girls. Flo's long hair, like mine, is disciplined in beautiful buns, Isa's bangs are rectified to the exact hair, we laugh with the artists' children. As usual, the p'tites Roux are with us, we heckle happily. At the request of Mamy, we catch the too 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 uniforms? They move forward in the middle of divinely dressed guests, the tuxedo is de rigueur and the long dresses even more beautiful than in the magazines. Only the entrance garden is accessible. Grandpa, smiling, radiant, gathers us all three in front of him, facing André Malraux. There on a red cushion, is placed 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, Papy does not let go of my hand. I understand then that it is not our new house that we celebrate tonight, but the house of all.
During the sumptuous dinner given in the courtyard Giacometti, Aimé Maeght, surrounded by his most loyal supporters, the artists, stands up and says a few words, Malraux replied as follows:
I would like to try to clarify beyond all the services that you have rendered to the country by your whole life - because all this is the end of a life, not a kind of accident - I would like to try to clarify in what this seems to me quite different from a foundation and, if you allow it, in what this evening has perhaps a historical character [...].
You have just tried here, by the fact that you have tried to summarize probably the continuation of the loves of a life, by the fact that the painters who are here are all, to some degree, either poets or men who express powerfully the poetry of our time, you have tried to make something that is in no way a palace, in no way a place of decoration and, let us say it right away, because the misunderstanding will grow and embellish, in no way a museum. This is not a museum.
When we looked at the piece of garden where the Mirós are, the same thing happened as when we looked 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 foundation, the most famous American, that is to say Barnes, if it were here, it would have no relation with what you have done, it would be backward of fifty years, because admirable as it is, it is a museum. But, here is attempted, with a result that we do not have to judge and that belongs to posterity, is attempted something that has never been attempted: to create the universe, to create instinctively and by love, the universe in which modern art could find both its place and that back world that 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 bending people will bow, having written "here the painting grew between the cobblestones" will come here and will say "this relationship that is now our relationship with life and that was 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."
Marc Chagall, André Malraux and Aimé Maeght, July 28, 1964, inaugural evening of the Maeght Foundation

The two men are made to get along. Both played, each in his own way, their role during the war. Both have a sense and a premonitory vision of the art world. Both were crazy about art and had an almost passionate relationship with artists. On a private level, both had lost their sons. And, finally, both had a science of the glance. Didn't Aimé keep in his wallet this sentence from Claude Monet: "You don't have to understand painting, you just have to like letting the eye live its life." This is what they will do, considering the destiny of works as part of the life of men. At the bottom of it all, there is the truth and sincerity of their passions and outbursts. An instinct that proves unstoppable.
It is not clear how, probably in the time of Pierre à Feu, the great merchant and the great writer met. One thing is sure, they share the same desires. Malraux's role in the development of the Foundation is crucial. It is he who accompanies the project, he who supports it, not only politically, but especially, and it is the word, sentimentally. There are no great achievements without love, without belief. When the Foundation devoted its exhibition to him, The Imaginary Museum, in 1973, nine years after the opening of this high place of modern art in France, Malraux was no longer the great servant of the State that he had been to General de Gaulle, but the great writer who had known how to speak of art better than anyone else, confronting the whole history of civilizations. This July 12, inauguration day, is his triumph, perhaps the culmination of his life and work.

Marc Chagall, André Malraux and Aimé Maeght at the inauguration of the Maeght Foundation, July 1964.

Aimé Maeght and André Malraux at the opening of the exhibition The Imaginary Museum of André Malraux, Maeght Foundation, July 1973.

Aimé Maeght and André Malraux in the exhibition "The Imaginary Museum" of André Malraux, Maeght Foundation, July 1973.

What words did Aimé and André exchange that evening? What conclusions did they draw from their exceptional destinies as they dined under the Mas Bernard vine? An imaginary museum: what a brilliant idea! To gather the illustration of a whole life, the evocation of a thought which marked a century where art, precisely, was reborn.
It took some nerve to do an anti-Louvre in the sun. It was the retrospective of a life, projected forward in a perpetual metamorphosis, the evocation of a surprisingly permanent aesthetic thought. This exhibition is an even more powerful oddity than the Antimémoires because the works of art are there, alive, exposed to the visitors' retina. The customs officer Rousseau, a Sumerian goddess, another Indian, a Pongwe mask, but also Tintoretto, Manet, Chardin, Fautrier, Füssli, Fragonard, an Amazonian doll but also Goya, Rouault, Picasso, Ensor, La Tour, Cézanne, Lautrec, Daumier, Braque, Miró, Chagall were invited that summer to the Foundation, under the curious eye of two enlightened amateurs, suggesting the vast possibility that the arts offer. And this uninterrupted dialogue between Egyptian statuary and a figure by Giacometti... With this curious look at these "lasting splendors", art transfigures, art transcends, art loves.
Their friendship continues with a series of films. Is it at this moment that Aimé becomes aware of the necessity to constitute a memory? Here again Aimé innovates, he becomes a producer and finances Les Métamorphoses du regard, three 52-minute films about Malraux: Les Dieux de la nuit et du soleil - Les Maîtres de l'Irréel - Le Monde sans dieux. At the Foundation as in these films, Malraux is all there. He who possessed the art of persuasion, the responsible writer, the enlightened amateur, knew how to give a universal dimension to art.

Aimé Maeght and André Malraux at the inauguration of the exhibition The Imaginary Museum of André Malraux, Maeght Foundation, July 1973.

Marc Chagall, André Malraux and Aimé Maeght at the inauguration of the Maeght Foundation, July 1964.

André Malraux and Marc Chagall at the inauguration of the Maeght Foundation, July 1964.