Derriere Le Miroir:
Derrière le Miroir / Behind the Mirror was one of the greatest art reviews of the 20th Century. Founded in the postwar year 1946 by Aimé Maeght, director of Galerie Maeght, which for many years was the most important gallery in the world for contemporary art, Derrière le Miroir was published on the occasion of exhibitions at the gallery and almost every issue contained original lithographs and woodcuts commissioned from the artist or artists whose works were featured. In format, it was a large publication (380x280mm or about 15×11 inches), featuring photographs of the art on display, articles or poems, about the art and the artist, and the original art of the issue; crucially, it was not bound: the 15×22 inch trimmed pages were folded in half, gathered in groups of four, placed within a heavy duty cover (often itself an original lithograph), and loosed upon subscribers (which seemed almost from the first to include libraries and museums) and visitors to the gallery. Since the roster of artists (or their estates) represented by Galerie Maeght early on included Arp, Alechinsky, Braque, Pol Bury, Chagall, Giacometti, Kandinsky, Ellsworth Kelly, Léger, Matisse, Miró, Riopelle, Saul Steinberg, Tal-Coat, Tàpies, Ubac, and Bram van Velde, this in itself would have made for interesting reading and viewing, but the artists tended to think of themselves as closely involved in the artistic life of the gallery and would recommend artists to Aimé Maeght. For instance Claude Garache told us once that he had been recommended separately to Maeght by Miró and Chagall; I suspect that Joan Gardy Artigas was likewise recommended by Miró, and that Miró may have initially recommended Gérard Titus-Carmel as well (there are a number of photographs of the two of them at very art events; certainly Artigas and Garache recommended him to us). Francis Bacon also showed with the gallery in the mid-1960s as did Richard Lindner in the 1970s. Although this roster of artists by itself would have made Galerie Maeght the Paris center for post-war modern and contemporary art, the genius of Derrière le Miroir was its policy of not just commissioning original artworks in most issues, but also commissioning artists, critics, and poets to write about them. Among the critics whose responses to the work of artists appeared in Derrière le Miroir were André Breton, Lionello Venturi, Dora Vallier, Meyer Shapiro, David Sylvester, Jacques Dupin, Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard, and Jean Paulham; many poets and novelists also appeared within its pages, including Tristan Tzara, Guillaume Apollinaire, Louis Aragon, Réné Char, Paul Eluard, Pierre Reverdy, Jacques Prévert, Eugène Ionesco, St-John Perse, Ernest Hemingway, Samuel Beckett, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean Genet, Raymond Queneau, André de Bouchet, Blaise Cendrars, André Frenaud, Jean Frémon, André Pieyre de Mandiargues, Joan Brossa, François Ponge, Italo Calvino, Paul Auster, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Yves Bonnefoy, Tennessee Williams, Claude Simon, Alain Veinstein, and many others. Opening the pages of Derrière le Miroir was always an adventure: one never knew what might appear next.