Exhibition: Cartier Explores Middle Eastern Influences in Abu Dhabi

The intersection of Islamic art and the jeweller's design.

Focusing on the intersection of design and Islamic culture, Cartier, Islamic Inspiration and Modern Design has just opened at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. On show till March 2024, the exhibition underscores the significant influence of Islamic arts and culture on the design evolution of Cartier’s jewellery and objet d’art.

The exhibition chronicles how Louis Cartier, the grandson of the brand’s founder, cultivated an interest in Islamic art in the 1910s. He enhanced the maison’s library and established a collection, providing likely inspiration for its designers in crafting Orientalist-style jewellery. Following this, Jacques Cartier, Louis’s brother, brought an added dimension into the mix by incorporating South Asian and Arabian styles and arts after his journeys to meet the brand’s esteemed clientele in those regions. 

Jacques Cartier in the Middle East. Image – Cartier.

To shape this narrative, the exhibition’s curators, Evelyne Possémé and Judith Henon, traced Cartier’s creative design process by showcasing the various influences and styles that inspired its creation.

The exhibition displays over 400 artworks from Louvre Abu Dhabi, Paris museums such as the Musée du Louvre and Musée des Arts Décoratifs, and various public and private collections. It also includes various drawings, photographs, and other materials from the brand’s own collection.

Prominent features of the exhibition include a stepped merlon showcasing floral motifs from Iran, dating back to the 10th to 11th centuries, sourced from the Louvre Paris. This is juxtaposed with two 1937 Cartier tiaras from the brand’s collection crafted from platinum and gold, adorned with Arabic patterns and studded with precious stones, including diamonds, aquamarine, and citrine.

The exhibition, crafted by the American interdisciplinary design studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro, will also incorporate an immersive digital space featuring expansive animations that delve into the diverse Cartier pieces and their sources of inspiration.

Alongside this, two “infinity rooms” will offer a captivating 180-degree visual experience, complemented by light projections on the museum’s facade narrating the travel adventures of Jacques Carter from Marseille to Muharraq.

Cartier, Islamic Inspiration and Modern Design takes place from November 16, 2023 to March 24, 2024 at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. It is open to the public from Tuesday to Thursday, 10:00 am-6:30 pm and Friday to Sunday, 10:30 am-8:30 pm.

Tickets are available for purchase online or at the museum’s premises.

Louvre Abu Dhabi
Saadiyat Cultural District
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates 

For more information, visit Louvreabudhabi.ae.


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