Fashion Special: Art of Cartier on show at Liaoning Provincial Museum

Updated: 2013-09-18 07:48

By Gan Tian (China Daily)

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"If you look carefully, you will find the word 'art' in the middle of 'Cartier'," said Stanislas de Quercize, president and CEO of French watch and jewelry maker Cartier.

De Quercize flew to Shenyang, capital of Northeast China's Liaoning province, especially for A Story of Style and Heritage exhibition co-presented by the provincial museum and the Cartier Collection.

In a chic gray suit and wearing an exquisite wristwatch from Cartier, the president said the jewelry maison has long been committed to art and exchanges between cultures.

Nearly 300 of the 400 items in the exhibition are from the Cartier Collection.

Fashion Special: Art of Cartier on show at Liaoning Provincial Museum

Fashion Special: Art of Cartier on show at Liaoning Provincial Museum

"Everything started 30 years ago when we decided it was good to keep the archive and creations of Cartier through ages to display the revolution in styles, so we started to buy back items at auction," de Quercize says.

The Cartier Collection has more than 1,500 pieces of exquisite and unique jewelry, watches and gadgets.

In the beginning, VIPs, royalty and socialites around the world purchased products or made special orders from Cartier. The celebrities included Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, the Duchess of Windsor,the Maharaja of Patiala and Linda Lee Thomas, wife of American composer Cole Porter.

When their treasures went on the market, Cartier bought them for inclusion in its collection.

First exhibited in the Musee du Pertit Palais in Paris in 1989, the collection has been invited and presented in 26 important museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Museum in Tokyo and the British Museum in London.

"We let (museums) choose what they want from this collection," said de Quercize. "In China, we have previously been invited by the Forbidden City Museum in Beijing, Shanghai Museum and Taipei Museum."

The president said that curators also have the freedom to choose items from museums to ensure it is an exhibition on art and not only the brand Cartier.

Fashion Special: Art of Cartier on show at Liaoning Provincial Museum

He said some of the jewelry reflects communication between cultures. In the A Story of Style and Heritage exhibit, visitors can find many items created by Cartier in the 1920s and 1930s inspired by China.

Its bird of paradise brooch made in 1948 on show to the public for the first time is based on the image of a traditional Chinese phoenix.

"There are two things artists want to do - create, and share. Being an artist, Cartier wants to share. Answering invitations from museums is the best way to share to a wide public audience," de Quercize said.

"Art is universal and timelessness. Those qualities are part of Cartier creations. That's why it's quite natural to find Cartier in museums, passed from generation to generation, and top pieces in auction houses."

It not only presents the art of jewelry, but also supports contemporary art. The Fondation Cartier pour L'Art Contemporain begun in 1984 by Alain Dominique Perrin, then president of Cartier International, selects contemporary artists for exhibitions or supports them in other ways.

The foundation, which works independently, covers a wide range of art from design to photography and painting, video, fashion and performing.

"We are also helping new Chinese artists in the world art scenes. It is an approach to help the world to understand what art is by contemporary artists," the president says.

The foundation has introduced Chinese contemporary artists Yue Minjun and Cai Guoqiang to the West.

"Cartier is part of art and art is part of Cartier," de Quercize concludes.

Fashion Special: Art of Cartier on show at Liaoning Provincial Museum

(China Daily USA 09/18/2013 page13)