Press - Yoyo Maeght on The Maeght Saga

Granddaughter of the famous Parisian merchant Aimé Maeght, Yoyo Maeght has written a book where, behind her grandfather's epic tale, she narrates the immense waste of the Maeght heritage.

daily art interview yoyo maeght

RA Your book is called The Maeght saga but it seems above all a pretext for a settling of scores with your sister and your father. Was it really necessary to write a book for this?

YM The art world only remembers this point but not the readers. I had planned this book for a long time, long before my difficulties with my family. I wanted to release it for the 50th anniversary of the Maeght Foundation. In the two previous books that I wrote, I did not position myself as a witness. What remains of the book is my grandparents' adventure. More than 80% of the work tells the story of Aimé Maeght. The other story with my sister and my father is very banal.

RA Why tell it then?

YM I didn't want to stop when my grandfather died. I wanted to take a step back. When Grandpa died, I immediately wanted to write a book. Initially, I stopped at five years ago. Robert Laffont, my editor, asked me: “why stop it in 2009?” ". The book was banal without the ending. Either I went through with it, or I didn't. If my father had behaved last March with a desire for conciliation, if I had been invited to the 50th anniversary of the foundation, I would not have released the book. I only submitted the end of the manuscript in May. We also had to go further, talk about the “Bacon-Freud” and “Russia of the Avant-Gardes” exhibitions that Jean-Louis Prat had done and which were completely in the spirit of grandpa.

RA Precisely, you do not pay enough tribute to Jean-Louis Prat to whom we owe the good years of the foundation after the death of Aimé Maeght.

YM It's not true, when I say that he is in the spirit of my grandfather, we couldn't pay a better tribute. That's not the point of the book, I didn't work with him. If I had had 1,200 pages, I would have written more about Jean-Louis. I am the only one in the family to recognize his merits. When he left, my father didn't organize a going-away party. Not once did he congratulate him. On the contrary, I am breaking with the family posture. I couldn't make it warmer than to say that someone outside had more of the Maeght spirit than someone in the family. My grandfather surrounded himself with competent people with whom he could move forward. My father and my sister surround themselves with people who take orders.

RA Would your grandfather have liked this unboxing?

YM I don't ask the question, I don't have an answer. If he had been there, I wouldn't have endured this. If he had lived longer, maybe I wouldn't have been in the art world or I would have stood on my own in the art world. I wrote this book to cut things off for good. It allows me to turn a page.

RA Were you not afraid of a defamation suit from your family?

YM Everything I say is true. I didn't hear anything after the book.

RA Isn't there a risk of being tainted yourself by the display of differences, a bit like Valérie Trierweiler's book on her life with François Hollande?

YM Yes, there is a risk. I was terrified to release it. I'm not afraid of being attacked, I'm used to that. Few people realize what I was subjected to. I only put 10% of what I suffered in the book. I heard an interview with my father on France Culture. He said that my grandfather had made a small fortune with his artists and that he wanted to stop. This is such a denigration, when Aimé Maeght had plenty of projects. This hurts me. Fortunately I wrote this book, otherwise this is what my family would remember.

RA Wouldn't it have been better if the saga had been written by someone outside the family?

YM It's my dream that someone would make such a book. I proposed it 12-15 years ago to Pierre Assouline.

RA Why didn't you break away from your family sooner?

YM It's my mistake. I was terrified of what would become of my grandfather's memory. I am anything but naive and weak, but I was anesthetized. I am from this family and I never wanted to open my eyes to her.


YOYO MAEGHT, THE MAEGHT SAGA autographed by Yoyo Maeght.