Cartier and Islamic Art Exhibition at Dallas Museum of Art

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Cartier and islamic art exhibition
Moti Masjid - fort de Lahore, undated. Archives Cartier Paris. © Plâté Limited. Photo: Image provided courtesy of Cartier Archives

Cartier and Islamic Art: In Search of Modernity opened May 14 at Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) and runs through Sept. 18. This major exhibition traces inspirations from Islamic art and design, including from Louis Cartier’s exquisite collection of Persian and Indian art. Art by designers of the Maison Cartier from the early 20th century to present day is featured.

The exhibition is co-organized by the DMA and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, in collaboration with the Musée du Louvre and with the support of Maison Cartier. It features over 400 objects from the Cartier, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Paris), the Musée du Louvre, the Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art, and other major international collections.

Cartier and Islamic Art exhibition
Small bottle, Iran, 9th–10th century, bronze, The Keir Collection of Islamic
Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art, K.1.2014.522. Photo: Image provided courtesy of Dallas Museum of Art

Through strong visual juxtapositions and new scholarly research, the exhibition explores how Cartier’s designers adapted forms and techniques from Islamic art, architecture, and jewelry. Materials from India, Iran, and the Arab lands are also featured.

Cartier and Islamic Art

The U.S. premiere of Cartier and Islamic Art follows its presentation at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. The exhibition is co-curated by Sarah Schleuning, The Margot B. Perot Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the DMA; Dr. Heather Ecker, the former Marguerite S. Hoffman and Thomas W. Lentz Curator of Islamic and Medieval Art at the DMA; Évelyne Possémé, Chief Curator of Ancient and Modern Jewelry at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris; and Judith Hénon, Curator and Deputy Director of the Department of Islamic Art at the Musée du Louvre, Paris.

Cartier and Islamic Art exhibition at DMA
Ewer, late 10th-early 11th century, rock crystal, with enameled gold repairs
and fittings by Jean-Valentin Morel (1794-1860), French, The Keir Collection
of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art, K.1.2014.1.A-B.
Photo: Image provided courtesy of Dallas Museum of Art

The exhibition design is conceived by renowned studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), which has created a contemporary display that offers enhanced opportunities for close looking and analysis of form. The Presenting Sponsor for the exhibition in Dallas is PNC Bank.

Dr. Agustin Arteaga

“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.”

Cartier and Islamic Art exhibition
Female tumbler, Iran, early 19th century, The Hossein Afshar Collection at
the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Photograph © The Museum of Fine
Arts, Houston; Photographer: Will Michels

The exhibit’s fully illustrated catalogue is designed by Coline Aguettaz and published by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris in French and English editions. The Dallas Museum of Art is supported, in part, by the generosity of DMA Members and donors, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture. For more information, visit dallasmuseumofart.org.