The Maeght Foundation

Up in the hills above Nice, near the village of Saint-Paul de Vence, is The Marguerite and Aimé Maeght Foundation, a contemporary art gallery and museum.

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The Foundation owns one of the largest collections of paintings, sculptures and graphic works of the twentieth century in Europe, including artworks by Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, Fernand Leger, Georges Braque, Alberto Giacometti, Marc Chagall and Eduardo Chillida. Their works are dotted in and around the main buildings in courtyards, gardens and on the open roof decks.

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A sculpture by Calder dominates the entrance area.

In 1953 the Maeghts travelled to the USA following the death of their youngest son, Bernard from leukemia. Their visits to the Guggenheim and Philips Foundations ratified their desire to create their own institution in France. With the help of artist Ferdinand Leger and architect Josep Lluís Sert, they started to carve out their ideas for their own foundation.

The only existing building on the site at the time was a small chapel that was rebuilt in the style of the overall architecture.

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A bronze owl by Joan Miró sits near the entrance to the Foundation
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The foundation buildings were designed by architect Josep Lluís Sert and opened to the public in 1964. Sert’s architectural training in Barcelona and his Catalan background are a modernist blend of Bauhaus and Catalan Modernism. Sert is famous for having designed the Spanish Pavilion at the Worlds Fair in Paris in 1937. For the interior, Sert had asked Spanish friends Picasso, Miró, and Calder to contribute artworks. Picasso’s contribution ‘Guernica’ became the focal point of Sert’s design drawing attention to the recently bombed town by the Nazi’s.

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The Maeght Foundation aims to celebrate contemporary art and architecture through restoration, investment and preservation.