Events & Awards

‘Cartier and Islamic Art’ Exhibition Opens in Dallas

Events & AwardsMay 17, 2022

‘Cartier and Islamic Art’ Exhibition Opens in Dallas

Following its Paris debut, “Cartier and Islamic Art: In Search of Modernity” has landed at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Installation view, “Cartier and Islamic Art: In Search of Modernity” at the Dallas Museum of Art. (Courtesy of Dallas Museum of Art. Photo by John Smith.)
Dallas—An important museum exhibition that merges jewelry and art has landed at its North American home.

“Cartier and Islamic Art: In Search of Modernity” opened May 14 at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA). It debuted last fall at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.  

Both art institutions developed the exhibition in collaboration with the Musée du Louvre and Cartier. 

Through 400 objects, it shows the influence of Islamic art, architecture, and jewelry on Cartier in the early 20th century. Objects are on loan to the DMA from the jewelry house, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, the Musée du Louvre, the Keir Collection of Islamic Art, and other international collections. 

Louis Cartier (1875-1942), the grandson of Cartier founder Louis-Francois Cartier, was a partner and director at Cartier Paris. He collected Islamic art and had a penchant for Persian and Indian paintings and manuscripts. 

At the turn of the 20th century, Louis would have had access to Islamic art through major exhibitions in Paris at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in 1903 and 1912. The city also fostered lots of art dealing and collecting from markets like Persia, India, China, and Japan, all which influenced the look of Cartier jewelry. 

They informed an aesthetic called “style moderne,” or “modern style,” now referred to as Art Deco. 

 Related stories will be right here … 

The DMA exhibition highlights not only jewelry but also drawings and archival photographs from Cartier alongside Islamic artworks with similar styles.

Materials from India, Iran, and Arab nations also play an important role, with Cartier introducing them after Louis’ brother Jacques went on sourcing trips to India and Bahrain. This resulted in new color combinations courtesy of different gems, as well as engraved gemstones. 

Iconic designs like Cartier’s “Tutti Frutti” styles bear the influence of this exploration. 

Actual Islamic art was occasionally incorporated into jewelry after the 1920s, too. Enameled plaques, pottery shards, stone amulets, textiles, and miniatures taken from paintings were every so often worked into new designs. 

“For over a century, Cartier and its designers have recognized and celebrated the inherent beauty and symbolic values found in Islamic art and architecture, weaving similar elements into their own designs. This bridging of Eastern and Western art forms speaks exactly to the kinds of cross-cultural connections that the DMA is committed to highlighting through our programming and scholarship,” said Dr. Agustín Arteaga, the DMA’s Eugene McDermott Director.

“Not only does this exhibition present our audiences with the opportunity to explore Cartier’s dazzling designs, but it also spotlights the strength of our powerhouse Islamic Art and Decorative Arts and Design departments, as well as those of our colleagues at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the Louvre.”

Four curators brought “Cartier and Islamic Art: In Search of Modernity” to life. They are: Sarah Schleuning, the DMA’s Margot B. Perot Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design; Dr. Heather Ecker, the DMA’s former Marguerite S. Hoffman and Thomas W. Lentz Curator of Islamic and Medieval Art; Évelyne Possémé, Musée des Arts Décoratifs Chief Curator of Ancient and Modern Jewelry; and Judith Hénon, Musée du Louvre Curator and Deputy Director of the Department of Islamic Art.

“Cartier and Islamic Art: In Search of Modernity” will run through Sept. 18.

There is an accompanying book of the same name. 
Ashley Davisis the senior editor, fashion at National Jeweler, covering all things related to design, style and trends.

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