Artist Jacques Majorelle referred to the garden as “vast splendours whose harmony I have orchestrated… This garden is a momentous task, to which I give myself entirely. It will take my last years from me and I will fall, exhausted, under its branches, after having given it all my love.”
In 1937 Majorelle transformed the gardens by painting his studio, the gates, the planters, the pergola and all other structures in bright and bold primary colors, one of which, the cobalt blue, would later be known as “Majorelle blue”. He claimed the color “evoked Africa”.
The gardens opened to the public in 1947, however, at the end of his life, after having been forced to subdivide it on several occasions, Jacques Majorelle had to sell what remained. The garden was abandoned and fell into disrepair.
Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé discovered the Jardin Majorelle in 1966, during their first stay in Marrakech.
“We quickly became very familiar with this garden, and went there every day. It was open to the public yet almost empty. We were seduced by this oasis where colours used by Matisse were mixed with those of nature. » … « And when we heard that the garden was to be sold and replaced by a hotel, we did everything we could to stop that project from happening. This is how we eventually became owners of the garden and of the villa. And we have brought life back to the garden through the years.”
Pierre Bergé Yves Saint Laurent, “Une passion marocaine”
Éditions de la Martinière, 2010
They bought the garden in 1980 and decided to live in the Villa Bou Saf Saf, renaming it Villa Oasis. They undertook the restoration of the gardens and entire complex.
A team of gardeners maintain the 300 plant species in the garden, its ponds and fountains.
The painter’s studio was turned into a Berber Museum (unfortunately closed today), housing the personal Berber collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé.
After Yves St. Laurent died in 2008, Pierre Bergé donated the Jardin Majorelle and the Villa Oasis to the foundation in Paris which bears both their names.
Photos from the beautiful shop.