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Miro, Calder, Giacometti, Braque: Aime Maeght And His Artists Opens at Royal Academy of the Arts
Alexander Calder, Two Spirals (Deux spirales), 1974, Original lithograph, 75 x 110 cm. Maeght family, Paris, Photo © Galerie Maeght.

LONDON.-This October the Royal Academy of Arts will present an exhibition of works selected from the collections of the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France. The exhibition tells the story of the remarkable role played in the history of twentieth-century art by Aimé Maeght, the outstanding art-dealer, exhibition-maker and publisher. With his wife Marguerite, Maeght founded the celebrated Galerie Maeght in Paris at the end of 1945. The gallery, which embodied an adventurous new spirit in post war Paris, opened with a show of Matisse’s drawings, and in 1947 mounted the notorious ‘Surréalisme en 1947’ exhibition, organised by André Breton and Marcel Duchamp. During the years that followed, the gallery hosted significant exhibitions of the work of many artists, focusing particularly on Miró, Calder, Giacometti and Braque, who were most closely linked to the gallery and to the Maeght family.

The Royal Academy’s exhibition will contain more than 140 paintings, sculptures, ceramics, prints, and artists’ books by these four artists, as well as works by Bonnard and Matisse. Little known film footage of the artists at work and relaxing with their patron and his family will be shown, revealing the remarkably close relationship that existed between Aimé Maeght and his artists.

The exhibition will open with works by Matisse and Bonnard, who played a key role in helping Aimé Maeght to establish his gallery in November 1945. Bonnard’s intimate sketches of the Maeght children will be displayed alongside his magnificent, large-scale canvas Summer (1909), which encapsulates the spirit of the south of France. Matisse will be represented by several drawings, including The Bush (1951) and his affectionate portrait of Marguerite Maeght. An entire gallery will be devoted to the work of Miró and Calder, who were united not only by a close personal friendship but by a love of colour and an exuberant and playful approach to the making of art. This is expressed in Calder’s inventive mobiles and stabiles and in Miró’s bold pictorial compositions and highly original ceramics.

Another gallery will bring together works by the two great twentieth-century masters Giacometti and Braque. Sculptures by Giacometti will range from his famous Surrealist piece, Spoon Woman (1926), to the great sculptures that he made in 1960, Standing Woman and Walking Man. The sombre mood of these solitary figures finds an echo in Braque’s moving and majestic late canvases.

Always proud of his early training as a lithographer and publisher, Aimé Maeght encouraged his artists to make prints and artists’ books (livres d’artiste). The final gallery will display outstanding examples of collaborations between poets and artists in artists’ books, as well as original prints, which will range from large, vivid lithographs by Miró and Calder, to Braque’s subtle explorations of the medium and the introspective, spectral figures that Giacometti drew from the lithographer’s stone. A spectacular collage of the covers of Derrière le Miroir , the periodical that served as a catalogue for each of the Galerie Maeght’s exhibitions, illustrated by the artists’ original lithographs, will close the exhibition.

Miró, Calder, Giacometti, Braque: Aimé Maeght and His Artists has been organised by the Royal Academy of Arts in collaboration with the Galerie Maeght, Paris. The exhibition has been curated by Ann Dumas, Royal Academy of Arts, London.

“This show brings to London an international group of distinguished artists, who furthered their careers in Paris through the influential Maeght Gallery, each challenging the status quo in his field. As a bank, BNP Paribas shares this pioneering ethos and is proud to be associated with such illustrious company by supporting the Royal Academy and this show,” said Ludovic de Montille, UK Chief Executive, BNP, Paribas.

To accompany this outstanding exhibition, the Royal Academy will publish a catalogue highlighting the work of the four artists at the heart of the collection of the Fondation Maeght; Miró, Calder, Giacometti and Braque. The book will examine the remarkable contribution that Aimé Maeght, founder of the collection, made to art in the mid-twentieth century.

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