Memories - Inauguration of the Fondation Maeght - NEW


Inauguration of the Fondation Maeght, left, my grandfather, then André Malraux and Marc Chagall surrounded by photographers and journalists
Excerpt from The Maeght Saga: "The evening of the inauguration, Chagall interviewed will say, moved: "Only Aimé Maeght could do that.
The Foundation becomes, for the hard worker that is Miró, a fantastic source of inspiration, as the abundant correspondence between him and Grandpa testifies. Dear Aimé, Dear Guiguite," he wrote in December 1965, "sending you my best wishes for Christmas and the New Year, I also send my deepest wishes for the glory of the Foundation. May this glorious enterprise of a conqueror enter a new stage and be the dawn of a mentality free of old prejudices. I am working with more ardor than ever, thinking of what I still have to do in Saint Paul. My heart goes out to you, Joan."
Yet, 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? It is out of the question to devote himself to the great classical masters. Just as in his adventure with the gallery, what he wants, what he hopes, is to discover new artists and in particular Tàpies, Kelly, Chillida or Alechinsky, then totally unknown. He also knows that art lovers still shun artists like Calder, Bram Van Velde, Ubac. Even the works of Giacometti remained confidential. With the Foundation, he wants to make them visible to everyone.
Inauguration of the Fondation Maeght on July 28, 1964.
While André Malraux looks at the photographers' lenses, Aimé and Marguerite Maeght gaze at their granddaughters Florence (who holds 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, stands up and says a few words, Malraux answers him 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 me, 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 is gone, then the man to whom I raise my glass will make a little inscription, "Perhaps something of the spirit happened here."

What a moment!
Ella Fitzgerald singing at the Fondation Maeght next to a sculpture by Alberto Giacometti.
I describe this evening in "La Saga Maeght".
"Today, this July 28, 1964, is the big day of the inauguration. 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 advance 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."

A few minutes before the inauguration of the Fondation Maeght on July 28, 1964, Alberto Giacometti and Josep Lluis Sert, architect of the Fondation, are talking in the Giacometti Courtyard, in front of the bronze "Grande tête de Diego." (Diego being Alberto's brother). In the background are the "Women of Venice" bronzes.
This courtyard will become one of the world-famous elements of the Foundation.