Called an “achingly beautiful delight” by Maria Doulton of The Telegraph, The Cartier: Style and History exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris is exactly that – achingly beautiful. With more than 600 historical pieces (displayed chronologically), Cartier chronicles 160 years of taste making – from tiaras to objects of art, jewels of Hollywood divas and more. All gathered in the already conspicuous and grandiose Grand Palais, the exhibit is at once intriguing, beguiling and awe-inspiring.
Two hours simply was not enough. The exhibit was somewhat overwhelming- with amazing never-before-seen pieces on loan from private owners, as well as Cartier-owned pieces. The tiara of Kate Middleton, superb pieces from Meriwether Post and others, including art-deco style necklaces, a snake necklace custom created for Maria Félix, a ceremonial necklace of the Maharajahs de Padilla with more than 234 carats of diamonds including the World’s 7th largest yellow diamond, and so many carved and mystery clocks your head will spin.
With jewelry, watches, clocks, and objects of art, on display and teamed with paintings, photographs, furniture and more—the art history exhibit offers a complete bird’s-eye-view into the prominent role Carter has played in art and life since its founding in 1847. In fact, more than 200 drawings and archival documents displayed along with the stylistic Cartier creations brings visitors behind the scenes of the choices Cartier has made in design direction for more than a century and a half.
Walking through the exhibition, one can t help but be drawn into the secret lives of celebrities and royalty via the display of cigarette cases, vanity cases and ceremonial jewelry – all juxtaposed deftly with the heady and sumptuous styles of Art Deco geometrics. Of particular note for watch lovers, in addition to the scores of special watches on display: the exhibition showcases an amazing 15 Cartier Mystery Clocks – demonstrating the brand’s ultra master craftsmanship in the world of haute horlogerie.
Even though we know the history of Cartier, this exhibit really hits home the immense diversity of Cartier and the immeasurable impact the brand. We will bring you more details of the exhibition – which is on display until February 16, 2014 – following our visit to SIHH in Geneva, so stay tuned.