Aimé Maeght, the great patron of the fine art
Aimé Maeght can be considered a homo faber fortunae suae: he started from scratch in the first half of the XX century, and became one of the most important figures of the postwar French culture, giving a primary contribution to the world of the fine art as an art gallery owner, patron and publisher.
Marguerite and the Gallery
Aimé was born in 1906 in Lilla where he tried the dramatic experience of the First World War, event that changed his whole life: his father died and his family was forced to move to Nîmes, where he had to work hard in spite of his young age.
Despite the difficulties of those years, the boy became lithographer after brilliant studies; in 1927, he moved to Cannes as a worker printer. After five years, he married Marguerite Davaye (who supported the inspiration of her husband) and founded the typography ARTE, acronym of “Art and technology”, operating in the field of cultural press.
At the beginning of the Second World War, Aimé hosted artists in search of refuge and, at the end of the war, he inaugurated the Maeght Gallery of fine art with an exposition dedicated to Henri Matisse.
The Gallery became a lively meeting and expositive place for painters, sculptors, and famous authors among which Matisse, Chagall, Kandinskij, Mirò, Léger, Calder, Bonnard, Adami, Giacometti, Braque etc.
Derrière le miroir
In addition to these activities Maeght undertook interesting publishing initiatives such as the limited edition fine art magazine Derrière le Miroir, founded in 1946, and spread continuously until 1982. More than 200 issues enriched by articles and illustrations (often original color lithographs) of all the artists who collaborated giving a high reputation to the gallery.
The Maeght Foundation
During the fifties, Aimé and Marguerite Maeght were among the most important art gallery owners of Europe, thanks to a large amount of paintings, sculptures, graphics and designs created by contemporary masters: from that patrimony they had the idea to realize a museum dedicated to the modern and contemporary Maeght’s collection. Saint-Paul de Vence in French Riviera, considered a summer retreat of French intellectuals, was chosen as city for that museum. The Catalan architect Josep Lluìs Sert was in charge of the desogn; actually, many other artists collaborated to the realization of a suggestive place for the exposure of the artworks; among them, Mirò gave a great contribution for the outdoor spaces with his sculptures.
The dream of the Maeghts came true in 1964. Today the collection of the museum has more than 10.000 works and 200.000 visitors from all over the world every year to appreciate the masterpieces of the Foundation and its famous garden of the sculptures (with the artworks of Mirò, Giacometti, Calder, Braque, Chagall and Léger).