A major exhibition from The Art of Cartier Collection will take place at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, from Oct. 31, 2004, through March 27, 2005. The exhibit, titled “Cartier design viewed by Ettore Sottsass,” includes diadems, brooches, necklaces, rings, and bracelets as well as accessories like cigarette cases, writing instruments, clocks, and watches. Approximately 200 pieces were selected from various periods to showcase the work of the family company, which was established in 1847.
Ettore Sottsass, an Italian maestro whose works include ceramics, glass items, and furniture, will serve as director of the Cartier Design exhibition. Highlights include the famous Elephant Mystery Clock made for the Maharaja of Nawanagar, the Tutti Frutti necklace that belonged to Daisy Fellowes, and the Duchess of Windsor’s Tiger lorgnette. The Cartier jewels on display demonstrate the great cultural and symbolic importance of jewelry, while highlighting the unique design qualities of each piece.
The jewelry designs range from the garland style of the early 20th century, passing through the geometric designs of Art Deco, to creations that reveal African, Oriental, Chinese, and floral motifs.
The exhibition boasts not only jewels but also a video on the craftsmanship of the jewelry, enlargements of design sketches, and a “Portrait Gallery”—a selection of photos featuring some of Cartier’s most renowned clients. The illustrious group includes Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, the Duchess of Windsor, actress Gloria Swanson, and the Maharaja of Patiala—all shown wearing unique Cartier items that were, for the most part, created specially for them.
Prior to being shown in Houston, “Cartier design viewed by Ettore Sottsass” was exhibited at the Vitra Design Museum in Berlin, the Palazzo Reale in Milan, and Daigo Ji, a Buddhist temple in Kyoto.