Press - Nice Matin - Yoyo Maeght: My grandfather, this giant

In the book she devotes to The Maeght Saga, Yoyo recounts the luminous journey of her grandparents, at the origin of a foundation which celebrates fifty years of living art in Saint-Paul.

In La Saga Maeght, Françoise, alias Yoyo, granddaughter of the creators of the foundation whose name she bears, settles scores with part of her family. But above all it traces the fascinating destiny of Aimé Maeght, this orphan of a railway worker from the North, who became the merchant and friend of the greatest artists of the 20th century.

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You grew up in limitless luxury. Thanks to your grandparents, Aimé and Marguerite Maeght...

I was born in 1959. When I was seven or eight years old, my grandparents had already had their gallery for around twenty years. Their financial means allow them to live in magnificent luxury. They live on avenue Foch, then in a huge apartment in the 7th arrondissement. They have a Rolls with a driver, my grandmother dresses by famous designers. This is the environment in which we operate.

A happy childhood ?

Isabelle, Florence and I are very bored at school. We don't have much to tell kids our age. In our neighborhood, all the little girls are dressed in navy blue while we wear the jeans that our grandparents or Calder brought back from their trips to the United States. The discrepancy is obvious. Probably a little less for our little brother Jules, ten years my junior.

How do you see him, this grandfather who surrounds himself with the greatest artists of his time ?

Miro spends all his summers in Saint-Paul. We are dropped off every Thursday, or almost, at Monsieur Braque's, at lunchtime. We are at all the openings, the artists call us by our first names. We are not aware, in our childhood, of their notoriety. It is only on the occasion of the opening of the Maeght Foundation that we realize how important they are.

What memory do you have of the inauguration?

I clearly remember André Malraux, who was close to my grandparents. My grandmother even considered him one of the three men in her life, with her husband, of course, and Alberto Giacometti. I also remember the extraordinary attention that the guests that evening paid to Ella Fitzgerald. And I am surprised that we applaud Yves Montand so much. To me, he's just kind of an "uncle". The one who teaches me to swim in the Colombe d'Or swimming pool.

Among all the artists present, who impresses you?

Calder, a lot. With his big voice, his strong accent and his mirrored build. In a poem, Prévert describes him as a bear. That's exactly it. Yet his works are so delicate! You also had to see him dance... Suddenly, Calder turned into a little opera rat!

And Giacometti? Does he scare you?

His sculpture, not at all. He, on the other hand, is a more closed man, who does not approach children. It must be said that when he died, I was little, only five years old. I got to know his brother Diego better, whom I adored.

Yoyo+Maeght+cour+Giacommeti+-+Foundation+Maeght Yoyo in the Giacometti courtyard, at the Maeght Foundation

Aimé Maeght is at the forefront of modernity. Does this seem natural to you?

Modern, he will be all his life. With a pronounced taste for beautiful things. In his first gallery in Cannes, he showcased furniture that he designed himself. In Paris, he lives with furniture by Charlotte Perriand or André Arbus. Or wear a Mao collar before his time...

Le Corbusier, you say, is convinced of being entrusted with his project.

Absolutely. Because he is very close to Fernand Léger, grandpa knows him very well. In this artistic community, where everyone connects, Le Corbusier, who is the most prominent architect, cannot even imagine that this foundation project would not fall to him. But my grandfather, faithful to his principles, chose Josep Lluis Sert, convinced that he would be better able to serve artists.

In conclusion, what do Aimé Maeght's work and stature inspire you?

Huge respect. I admire his incredible tenacity. His journey proves that nothing can resist work, once you set yourself goals, even if they are dreams or utopias. But if the Foundation is the most visible element of his personality, for me, my grandfather is above all the publisher of L'Art vivant. This review is a real revolution.

You have left the Foundation. The quarrel is over?

A legal expert is responsible for making the accounts of the joint ownership after the donation-sharing decided by my father. We are talking about millions of euros. To this day, I don't even have the catalogs signed by the artists during my childhood. But I'm in no hurry. I'm not complaining about anything. I live in a wonderful loft in the suburbs of Paris, with a few lithographs by Miro or Giacometti on the walls which, in fact, have been requested of me. I am accused of being proud? Since my resignation, no one has seen me in Saint-Paul. I don't suffer from it. With this book, I turn a page.


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