Derrière le Miroir and the birth of the affordable art market.
Galerie Maeght in Paris was one of the most influential and creative galleries of the modern era. From 1946 its owner, Aime Maeght published the periodical
up to six times a year. Each issue included a set of limited-edition original lithographs by the artists in their stable, as well as the writings of their wider creative circle. The magazine acted both as an exhibition catalogue and cultural periodical and, extraordinarily, was published for the following 36 years. In total, there were 201 issues, perfectly documenting the so-called "postwar period". The original lithographs are increasingly rare and valuable for collectors today. The print runs vary from 150 to around 2,000 but most prints are unnumbered – sometimes they are signed ‘in the stone’ by the artist which adds to their value and sometimes short deluxe additions were printed on Arches paper and signed by the artists.
Derrière le Miroir was revolutionary in concept. In a post-war age of austerity, it enabled Maeght to market affordable, original art by such acclaimed figures as Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, Joan Miró, Alberto Giacometti, Eduardo Chillida, Antoni Tàpies and Fernand Léger. You could say that Maeght was the first dealer to try and truly democratise the art market.
He also liberated the artists to using a medium where they could potentially take more risks, being more playful, minimal and more graphic than in their larger-scale 'serious' works. Maeght also encouraged his artists to experiment with other forms of art ‘off the canvas’ – murals, installations, ceramics – which as avant-garde for the period; freeing art from the walls of galleries and placing them in outdoor settings, parks, streets and of course private homes.
Alongside the artists in Derrière le Miroir were their literary collaborators, including Surrealists Paul Eluard and André Breton, poet Jacques Prévert and critic David Sylvester. Many of the works in our collection come with the provenance of the great Modernist poet Blaise Cendrars, who was regularly published in the magazine and was a close friend to Fernand Leger. For us this direct connection to one of the most significant writers of the period is an immense privilege and only adds to our sense of the works inherent value.
You can visit the Maeght Foundation in St-Paul-de-Vence, France.