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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Cartier and Islamic Art: In Search of Modernity


Musée des Arts Décoratifs / Paris / Art

While on a trip to Russia in 1911 to court new clients, Louis Cartier sent a letter to his father, Alfred, writing, “It seems to me that the selections of new items we should offer for sale must inevitably be the Russian or even Persian style.” By this time, Louis Cartier had been collecting Islamic art for several years, having seen the exhibition of Muslim art at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in 1903 and an important 1910 exhibition of Islamic art in Munich. Culturally enlightened, he believed it was time to look for inspiration beyond the boundaries of his own country. “Cartier and Islamic Art”—serious and superb—has more than 400 objects are on view, among them 200 pieces of jewelry shown alongside rarely seen period photography, archival drawings, printed matter, and Islamic artworks that trace the myriad connections between inspiration and the finished jewel. Persian and Indian artifacts from Louis Cartier’s own collection are part of the show. —Ruth Peltason

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