Last Updated on March 16, 2024

The Fondation Maeght, the first foundation for modern and contemporary art in France, will celebrate its sixtieth anniversary in the summer of 2024. Founded in 1964 by the art dealers, publishers and lithographers Marguerite and Aimé Maeght, it was opened in Saint-Paul-de-Vence by André Malraux and immediately gained official recognition as serving the public good.

The anniversary will be marked by a major summer exhibition, “Bonnard-Matisse, a friendship”, the opening of new exhibition rooms – dedicated this year to the permanent collection – and a month of celebrations including concerts, dance performances, film screenings, lectures and more.

Over 60 years and more than 150 exhibitions by great artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, the Fondation Maeght’s unique perspective has made a strong impression on the history and dissemination of art. Seeing the story of art through the prism of the friendship between the Maeght family, the Foundation and the artists makes it possible to move away from traditional academic approaches. But after all, wasn’t it the artists themselves who encouraged the Maeghts to overcome the pain of losing their second son with a long trip to the United States in the 1950s? And then, by founding the Foundation, inspired by the major American figures they visited on their travels: Barnes, Guggenheim, Phillips…?

‘Bonnard-Matisse’

To celebrate this anniversary, the Fondation Maeght is presenting an exhibition designed specially for the occasion: “Bonnard-Matisse, a friendship, for the 60th Anniversary of the Fondation Maeght.” From the 29th of June to the 6th of October, 2024, the exhibition will focus on the friendly, respectful relationship between Pierre Bonnard and Henri Matisse and explores their links with the Maeght family, who saw the two artist friends as geniuses of the 20th century, while sharing the greatest – and the most everyday – moments of life with them.

Several themes surround this central focus, illustrated with many rare works and documents, including exceptional loans granted for the occasion. The exhibition explores the individual characters of the two masters but also, in mirroring one other, the specificities of each artist in their approaches to the same subjects: self-portraits, the street, the Mediterranean light, the painter and the model, etc.

Fondation Maeght 60the Anniversary

Fondation Maeght © Photo: Olivier Amsellem - Archives Fondation © Successió Miró / © ADAGP, Paris 2024
Fondation Maeght © Photo: Olivier Amsellem – Archives Fondation © Successió Miró / © ADAGP, Paris 2024

This summer, the Fondation Maeght is also opening the new spaces created in 2023 and 2024, hanging a selection of iconic works from its collection. The architect Silvio d’Ascia, who was invited to design the new extension, has come up with four new rooms, two of which offer a unique view over the valley through large windows beneath the Giacometti and Miró courtyards. The Fondation Maeght will now be able to offer temporary, themed or retrospective exhibitions at the same time as hangings of its permanent collection in dedicated spaces.

The extension to the building was designed with the greatest respect for the tree-lined site and the historic building by Josep Lluís Sert.

Finally, the Foundation, whose history reminds us that all artistic disciplines are intertwined, is planning a month of celebrations for its sixtieth birthday. These will run from the end of June until the 28th of July, the anniversary of its opening in 1964, which was marked by a memorable concert featuring Ella Fitzgerald and Yves Montand. In 2024, the Fondation Maeght is once again scheduling dance performances, concerts, lectures, documentary films about Bonnard and Matisse, conferences, children’s workshops, etc.

The Fondation Marguerite et Aimé Maeght was the first foundation in France dedicated to modern and contemporary art. Its public interest was recognized by ministerial decree on 15 May 1964. Since 1981, Adrien Maeght, Marguerite and Aimé Maeght’s son, has been Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. The Board is made up of 11 members, including representatives of France’s Ministry of Culture, the Department of French Museums and the Ministry of the Interior, as well as four members of the Maeght family and four qualified individuals.

Author

  • Chadd Scott

    Chadd Scott is an arts contributor with Forbes and the founder of See Great Art, where he writes about his travels from big city museums to small town galleries in search of great art.

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