Collecting Derrière Le Miroir Prints
In 1946 the first edition of Derrière Le Miroir was published by Maeght Gallery in Paris. Translating to Behind the Mirror, it was a French magazine that was issued in conjunction with exhibitions at the gallery. It was, however, much more than just an exhibition catalog -- it was also a review, and included critiques, articles and poems by leading French thinkers. Also of note were the lithographs and etchings that were issued loose leaf throughout the catalog by Maeght Gallery artists, which included Ellsworth Kelly, Alexander Calder and Joan Miro. These unsigned and unnumbered prints have become collector’s items in their own right.
Aimé Maeght, a leading gallerist at the time, recognized the importance of finding a way to cultivate collectors in postwar France. His goal was to make works affordable and accessible, and DLM did just that. The prints, mostly lithographs and etchings, were unsigned and unnumbered. If someone couldn’t afford a signed lithograph by a leading artist perhaps they could afford an unsigned lithograph. The works were less expensive because the artist didn’t have direct contact with the process of making them, instead they authorized the gallery to use a specific image and the gallery printed them. This is also why they are unsigned. With 250 editions, Maeght Gallery was able to cultivate a strong base of collectors.
Their value and Authentication Today
Just like when they were first issued, DLM prints are a good entry point for collecting modern art today. They are printed to high standards and on good paper unlike many inferior reproduction prints or photographs of modern paintings that you can find online. Works included in DLM generally have a lower fair market value than those of the “original prints” that are signed and numbered by the artists, but they give you the effect of having an original on the wall.
To evaluate authenticity you should double check the size. They should always be 15 x 11 inches for a single folio or 15 x 22 inches for a double folio. If you see a crease in the middle of one of double folio pieces, don’t be alarmed for this is how it was issued. Other things to consider are condition issues such as creases, tears, foxing or staining.
Where to Buy DLM Prints
You can find these prints relatively easily online, and they are sold through galleries or online platforms such as Ebay and Chairish.