A new exhibition at the Mystic Museum of Art (MMoA) depicts a dramatic historical trip through the glorious sights of Mystic, Connecticut. “From Crisis to Color: Derrière le Miroir (Behind the Mirror)” promises to be a transforming experience, displaying a diverse range of artwork that arose from the ashes of WWII. The exhibition, which is generously supported by The Kitchings Family Foundation and CT Humanities, will be open to the public from June 24 through September 24, 2023.
The purpose of the MMoA, according to V. Susan Fisher, the Museum’s Executive Director and Chief Curator, is to “place Mystic in the context of the international art world,” underlining that art is a fundamental component of a good life.
“From Crisis to Color” honors Aimé Maeght, the legendary Parisian art dealer, curator, and publisher who inspired artists to rethink the art world in the aftermath of the war. Maeght pioneered the inventive publication “Derrière le Miroir,” allowing both new and famous artists to create original lithographs for the public. He thought that art could help the city and the country recover by mourning their great losses and renewing imagination, vision, and freedom of expression.
The artists who are being showed in “Derrière le Miroir” include Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Alexander Calder, Joan Miró, Alberto Giacometti, Georges Braque, André Derain, Ellsworth Kelly, and many more. Their works, which combine art and literature, were created in partnership with renowned authors and poets.
The identity, economy, and landscapes of countries where battles were fought had been destroyed by World War II. In the middle of this desolation, Aimé Maeght imagined a platform where “great painters should do limited series of lithos, so that the greatest number of people could buy them.” Derrière le Miroir was born, with 253 unique issues published between 1946 and 1982.
Artists, according to Yoyo Maeght, Aimé Maeght’s granddaughter, appreciated the opportunity to create something that was “a direct record of what they were doing at the time, with no filter…” This genuine artistic expression was critical in reviving the lively life of art and culture after the war.
“From Crisis to Color: Derrière le Miroir (Behind the Mirror)” offers a rare peek into the regenerative power of art in the aftermath of war’s crimes. Artists such as George Braque and Alberto Giacometti used their work to depict the harsh reality of wartime life. Marc Chagall, Joan Miró, and Alexander Calder, on the other hand, provided solace and delight, ushering in a period of creative emancipation.
Since its inception in 1913, the MMoA has served as a vital cultural hub in southeastern Connecticut. This outstanding exhibition exemplifies the best practices of curation, installation, and of course artist clarity.