Cartier: Islamic Inspiration and Modern Design will take place this week

H.E. Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Louvre Abu Dhabi, inaugurated the ground-breaking exhibition Cartier, Islamic Inspiration and Modern Design. Live from November 16, 2023 to March 23, 2024, it explores the influence of Islamic art on Cartier’s design from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day.

Source: Cartier

Co-organised by Louvre Abu Dhabi, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Musée du Louvre and France Museums, with the support of Maison Cartier, Cartier, Islamic Inspiration and Modern Design builds upon a project initially conceived and co-organised by the Dallas Museum of Art and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. At the turn of the 20th century, the organisation of major exhibitions dedicated to Islamic art and the massive arrival of works, particularly Persian and Indian paintings and manuscripts, led to the development of true Persian fashion in Paris.

In the 1910s, Louis Cartier initiated a personal collection of Islamic art, which he made available to the Maison’s designers. In 1911, his brother Jacques travelled to India to reinforce ties with maharajas, and to the Arabian Gulf region to investigate the pearl market. The discovery of the patterns and shapes in architecture, artworks, and literature unlocked a new realm of modern artistic expression for the Maison, right up to the artistic direction of Jeanne Toussaint and even today.

The exhibition’s chapters explore the Maison’s sources of inspiration and its creative process through over 400 objects from the collections of Louvre Abu Dhabi, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Musée du Louvre, and Cartier Collection and Archives, as well as exceptional loans from Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la ville de Paris and other lenders, spanning masterpieces of Islamic art, jewellery, drawings, design sketches, miniatures, textiles, photographs and archival material.

“This exhibition is the result of almost five years of research in archives, drawings and photographs to discover the links between Cartier creations and Islamic art, and to identify the sources of inspiration. The result is a true immersion into the creative process and a journey through the sources that inspired some of the most innovative pieces in French jewellery. The exhibition allows us to understand the importance of the discovery of Islamic art for artists at the beginning of the 20th century, and the way in which this aesthetic influence was at the origin of many masterpieces produced in Europe, and a real fashion phenomenon.”

– Judith Henon-Raynaud and Évelyne Possémé, Exhibition Curators

There will be plenty of highlights showcased by both Louvre Abu Dhabi and Musée du Louvre. In addition to that, the Cartier Collection is lending special works including a cigarette case (Cartier Paris, 1930), a vanity case with decoration inspired by Iznik ceramics (Cartier Paris, 1927), a Hindu necklace (Cartier Paris, 1936) and a tiara (Cartier London, 1937). Other lenders include Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, France; Aga Khan Museum, Canada, H.E. Sheikha Nouf Bint Khalifa Al-Thani, and Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

A few feet from the main exhibition galleries, the temporary exhibit features an immersive digital space, where large digital animations show artistic interpretations of the physical assembly of Cartier key pieces and their source of inspiration. Two “infinity rooms” will immerse visitors in animated patterns, offering a captivating 180-degree visual experience within this digital realm.

The public will get the chance to explore the exhibition through different channels, all available in Arabic, English and French. Visitors can enjoy an audio tour through the exhibition podcast, which will be available on streaming platforms, as well as Louvre Abu Dhabi’s website and mobile application. A catalogue highlighting the various themes, sections and objects in the exhibition will be available in three languages. Entrance to the exhibition is free with the museum’s general admission tickets. Admission to the museum is free for children under the age of 18.

For more information about the exhibition, visit here.