Press - Meeting - Yoyo Maeght

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? She 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 don't understand why my father and my sister Isabelle didn't understand who my grandfather was. For this fiftieth anniversary, there should have been a crazy exhibition. I proposed it seven years ago."
By that, mean of 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 the spirit of the times . When Jean-Louis was programming Bacon and Freud, at that time we only swore by installations, video and performances. The painting was neglected. We had to dare to make this type of choice. Like the day when Aimé Maeght welcomed into his gallery a sculptor that 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 Even though Pierre Loeb did not wish to renew his contract, my grandfather agreed to no longer represent Germaine Richier, who was selling very well, a condition set by Giacometti upon his arrival at the gallery.
In 1950, he dedicated 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 welcomes 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 Chase Manhattan Bank in 1959 that was never finalized, the project was taken up by Aimé Maeght for his foundation currently under construction.
"I was in the room on 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. This is not a man who tossed a coin to see which way it would land… ever! In addition, my grandparents were very complementary. He would verbalize his innovative ideas to his wife, and they would debate. “I think therefore I am” is good… but “I express therefore I know” is even better! What might have been incomprehensible to someone from the outside was completely understandable to my grandmother and the artists. Miró and my grandfather didn't 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 bear witness to the complicity which united Aimé Maeght to the artists he defended.
In the book La Saga Maeght , published last July, Yoyo makes an elegy of his ancestors, including “mémé Molleton”, the maternal grandmother, who, for a time, raised her granddaughters in Auvergne deep.
The Maeght Saga retraces both a formidable artistic and human journey. "My grandfather was an orphan, and my grandmother came from a Cannes family of food merchants. Grandpa said that he was a nouveau riche in art. When Jean-Louis put on the exhibition "The universe of Aimé and Marguerite Maeght" at the foundation, it was an artistic list, but without a word about who my grandparents were. I made this book because I did not want them to fall into oblivion ."
It is also the carefree Saint-Paul-de-Vence of the Trente Glorieuses which comes back to life, with its colony of artists and children running down its streets... "It was The War of the Buttons! We were in complete freedom. When it rained , the alleys covered with pebbles transformed into torrents We made dams, we sat in the water… and we never caught a cold!”
A host of anecdotes run through these pages, like the day when Simone Signoret, on her way to the Cannes Film Festival, jumped in an evening dress into the swimming pool at La Colombe d'or to save little Isabelle who was drowning. But this childhood freedom has a price for the three little Maeghts, that of the disinterest shown in them by their parents. Without reproaching them, Yoyo notes their selfishness and is amused by the surreal sense of humor of his mother, who, for years, made him 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 mad as hell. 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 had not thought about welcoming the public and that Mamy had taken out a chair to put some stamped on a butcher's notebook, charging 5 francs for entry. It is a scandal ! The Maeght Foundation's number one status is to receive the public. Josep Lluís Sert initially planned two cash registers. The café, with its fifty chairs by Diego Giacometti, has also always been there! And not to remember 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 Mamy, with the intelligence that they had to have gone to look 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 fortunately 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 complain. The echoes I get from them are always positive. They relate to the generosity of my grandmother, of my grandfather too , with this sunny side, his trust in people, he knew how to give everyone a chance. I looked for flaws, because I didn't want to be nothing but blissful with admiration. grandmother and being open with Marcelle – but I had no disappointment."
His plans? "I want to do an American edition, removing the whole ending, as the Americans don't know 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 will change there and that alone, he will not be able to conquer it. He then joins forces with Pierre Matisse, with whom he shares the Miró and Giacometti contracts. Calder's is shared with the Perls Gallery. The great collector David Nasher bought his first sculpture from my grandfather Every day, I walk through this story, without nostalgia... It's a joy. "