Yoyo Maeght. Granddaughter of Aimé and Marguerite Maeght, she defends the memory of her ancestors through a book and conferences, and wants the Maeght Foundation to regain its original spirit.
The 50th anniversary of the Maeght Foundation, celebrated last year? It was undoubtedly one of its most fervent animators. In 2010, following a family dispute, Yoyo Maeght resigned from the institution created by his grandparents on the heights of Saint-Paul de-Vence. . "I do not understand that my father and my sister Isabelle did not understand who my grandfather was. For this fiftieth anniversary, there should have been a crazy exhibition. I had proposed it seven years ago." Mean by that the caliber of those organized between 1969 and 2005 by Jean-Louis Prat… The role of the foundation is not to do what is easy, that is to say what is in tune with the times . When Jean-Louis was programming Bacon and Freud, people swore at that time only by installations, video and performances. The paint was neglected. You had to dare to make this type of choice. Like the day when Aimé Maeght welcomed into his gallery a sculptor whom no one wanted... Alberto Giacometti refused to participate in an exhibition on surrealism that my grandfather organized in 1947. He no longer wanted to be associated with this movement, which was understood by Grandpa, who knew that Alberto was the greatest. Even though Pierre Loeb did not wish to renew his contract, my grandfather agreed to no longer represent Germaine Richier, who was selling very well, a condition set by Giacometti when he arrived at the gallery. In 1950, he devoted a first exhibition to him and a few years later, placed him with Miró at the center of his foundation, giving his name to the largest of the rooms and dedicating the central courtyard to him. The latter houses The Walking Man, which has become the most expensive sculpture in the world since a copy reached $104.3 million on February 3, 2010, at Sotheby's in London. The result of an order from the Chase Manhattan Bank that was never finalized in 1959, the project was taken over by Aimé Maeght for his foundation under construction.
"I was in the room the day of the sale, and I was overwhelmed. Imagine: fifty years later, the market validates my grandfather's choice! He is someone who, in reality, never took of risks. . Aimé always knew where he was going and made sure the project was feasible. It was not a man who tossed a coin to see which way it was going to fall... ever! In addition, my grandparents were very complementary. He verbalized his innovative ideas to his wife, and they debated. "I think therefore I am" is good... but "I express therefore I know" is even better! What could be incomprehensible to someone from the outside was completely incomprehensible to my grandmother and the artists. Miró and my grandfather did not ask questions when they did the Labyrinth Instinctively, they know where they were going." . Both the adventure of the Galerie Maeght and that of the foundation testify to the complicity that united Aimé Maeght to the artists he defended.
In the book La Saga Maeght, published last July, Yoyo praises his ancestors, including "Grandma Molleton", the maternal grandmother, who, for a time, raised her granddaughters in Auvergne. deep.
The Saga Maeght retraces as much a formidable artistic as human journey. "My grandfather was an orphan, and my grandmother came from a Cannes family of food traders. Grandpa said he was a nouveau riche in art. When Jean-Louis set up the exhibition "L' universe of Aimé and Marguerite Maeght" at the foundation, it was an artistic list, but without a word about who my grandparents were. I wrote this book because I didn't want them to be forgotten ." It is also the carefree Saint-Paul-de-Vence of the postwar boom years that comes to life again, with its colony of artists and children racing down its streets... "It was The War of the Buttons! We were completely free. When it was raining , the alleys covered with pebbles turned into torrents. We made dams, we sat in the water… and we never caught cold! . A host of anecdotes run through these pages, such as the day when Simone Signoret, on her way to the Cannes Film Festival, jumped into the swimming pool of La Colombe d'Or in her evening dress to save little Isabelle who was drowning. But this freedom of childhood has a price for the three little Maeghts, that of the lack of interest shown by their parents. Without blaming them, Yoyo sees their selfishness and is amused by her mother's surreal sense of humor, which for years made her believe that she had been found on the steps of Saint-Sulpice.
"At home, we were forbidden to talk about my grandparents. Dad and grandpa were pissed off. There are photographs of my father at the inauguration of the foundation, but that's it. I was furious to hear him say on France Culture that the only thing he remembered was the next day… He says that my grandparents hadn't thought of receiving the public and that Grandma had taken out a chair to put on stamps on a butcher's counterfoil book, charging 5 francs for entry. It is a scandal ! The number one status of the Maeght Foundation is to receive the public. Josep Lluís Sert planned two boxes from the start. The café, with its fifty chairs by Diego Giacometti, has also always been there! And not remembering the inauguration when there was Malraux, Miró, Montand, who sang Prévert, without forgetting Ella Fitzgerald... The credit for the success of the foundation goes to Grandpa and Grandma, with the intelligence that they had to go looking for Sert, Miró and Giacometti. They are the glue of it all. What my father said is very serious. My sister Flo was in tears. She told me that luckily my book existed." The foundation was born following the death of Bernard, the youngest son of Aimé and Marguerite, in 1953. Braque advised them to create something bigger than themselves. "They never used the pathos of their son's death to make themselves feel sorry for themselves. The feedback I have from them is always positive. They relate to the generosity of my grandmother, my grandfather too , with this sunny side, his trust in people. He knew how to give everyone a chance. I looked for faults, because I didn't want to be only blissful with admiration. He has a lot of faults - notably deceiving my grandmother and being outspoken with Marcelle – but I was not disappointed." His projects? "I want to do an American edition, removing the whole ending, Americans not knowing our family stories.
On the other hand, I will further develop my grandfather's relations with the United States, which were much more important than what I say in my book. He understands that the market is going to change over there and that alone, he will not be able to conquer it. He then teamed up with Pierre Matisse, with whom he shared the Miró and Giacometti contracts, while that of Calder was shared with the Perls Gallery. The great collector David Nasher bought his first sculpture from my grandfather. Every day, I stroll through this story, without nostalgia... It's a joy. I am optimistic !"