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Cartier and America Jewelry Exhibition
Cartier and America is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in partnership with Cartier.
Cartier and America Martin Chapman, Ka...
Legion of Honor
Cartier came to fame as the “King of Jewelers” during the Belle Époque for his beautifully made diamond and platinum jewelry created for the courts of Europe and Americans of the Gilded Age. With an extensive variety of jewelry forms—ranging from traditional white diamond suites to the highly colored exotic creations of the 1920s and 1930s—Cartier made its mark with the ingenuity of its designs and its exquisite craftsmanship. Cartier and America celebrates the imagination and creativity of Cartier in the 20th century. The jewelry and works of art include pieces from the private collection of Cartier.
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Cartier and America Exhibit in San Francisco
If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, Cartier in the twentieth century kept some fabulous company. Pieces owned by the likes of Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, and Gloria Swanson go on view starting this Saturday in a dazzling new show at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor, celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the French jeweler’s first American boutique, which opened on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue in 1909.
For “Cartier and America,” curator Martin Chapman amassed close to 300 jewelry, fashion, and decorative items from the house’s legendary Geneva vault as well as private collections in the US and France, including Kelly’s 10.47-carat emerald-cut engagement ring, Taylor’s ruby-and-diamond abstract suite given by her husband Mike Todd in 1957, and Swanson’s diamond–and–rock crystal bangles that appeared in the movie Sunset Boulevard. Cornelius Vanderbilt III’s diamond-and-platinum pendant brooch, Linda (Mrs. Cole) Porter’s and Daisy Fellowes’s sapphire-emerald-and-ruby “Tutti Frutti” jewels, and a coterie of the company’s great cats—Barbara Hutton’s emerald-eyed tiger ear clips–and–brooch set and the Duchess of Windsor’s diamond-and-onyx panther bracelet—also take their place among Cartier’s greatest hits.
Of all the entries, Chapman cites a 1923 pendant brooch of seven carved Indian emeralds—including one from the Mughal era—as the surprise showstopper. It belonged to the cereal-fortune heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, who has five additional treasures on display, and was worn at the shoulder, the stones cascading from a diamond buckle. “She was a restless jewelry wearer,” says Chapman. “She was constantly having things altered, constantly buying things. Her daughter Dina Merrill, the actress, once said that when her mother became ambassadress to the Soviet Union, they must have thought the regime of the czars had returned.”
—Kimberly Straub found Friday December 18, 2009 at vogue.com
Cartier and America
Pierre Cartier, wife and daughter, 1926, Library of Congress.
found at famsf.org 18 Sep 2009
Cartier and America covers the history of the House of Cartier from its first great successes as the “king of jewelers and jeweler to kings” during the Belle Époque through to the 1960s and 1970s, when Cartier supplied royalty and celebrities of the day with their jewels and luxury accessories. Derived mainly from the private Cartier Collection, the spectacular array of more than 200 objects includes jewelry of the Gilded Age and Art Deco periods, as well as freestanding works of art such as the famous Mystery Clocks. With an extensive variety of jewelry forms – ranging from traditional white diamond suites to the highly colored exotic creations of the 1920s and 1930s – Cartier made its mark with the ingenuity of its designs and its exquisite craftsmanship. Marking Cartier’s 100 years in the United States, the exhibition concentrates on pieces owned by Americans, including a pair of rock crystal and diamond bracelets worn by Gloria Swanson in the movie Sunset Boulevard, Daisy Fellowes’s famous “Tutti Frutti” necklace, and the exotic flamingo brooch made for the Duchess of Windsor. The exhibition, open until April 18th, 2010, is exclusive to the Legion of Honor.
Joe Gillis: I didn’t know you were planning a comeback.
Private lenders in the United States and Europe have contributed significant pieces to the exhibition. For the first time, an American museum will feature the personal jewelry of Princess Grace of Monaco from the time of her wedding to Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, in 1956. These, generously lent by H.S.H. Prince Albert II, include her engagement ring – a 10.47-carat emerald-cut diamond set with two baguette diamonds mounted in platinum – a grand diamond necklace, and more informal gold brooches in the form of birds. The Lindemann Collection of Palm Beach is sharing some of its incomparable clocks, and the Hillwood Museum in Washington, D.C., is lending jewelry made for cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, a longtime Cartier patron. Post’s brooch, one of the most spectacular pieces of jewelry made in the 1920s, incorporates Indian carved emeralds, one of which dates from the Mughal era.
Pendant Brooch (above left) – Cartier London, 1923;
altered 1928, Cartier New York. Marjorie Merriweather Post was a regular
customer at Cartier New York. Her brooch, one of the most spectacular jewels
made in the 1920s, incorporates Indian carved emeralds, one of t=which dates
from the Mughal era.
Carp Clock – Although it is not strictly a mystery clock, this piece – the third in the series of twelve figural clocks – has an hour hand that springs back when it reaches the VI at far right. The jade carps are Chinese, dating from the 18th Century.
Egyptian Striking Clock - Based on the gate of the Temple of Khons at Karnak, this 1927 clock – completed in Maurice Couëtʼs Paris workshop – is the most impressive of Cartierʼs Egyptian-style objects. In 1929, Cartier New York sold the clock to Florence Blumenthal. She was first wife of George Blumenthal, who headed the Wall Street investment bank Lazard and was a trustee (and later president) of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Exhibition curator Martin Chapman declares, “This is a great opportunity to see some of the finest pieces of jewelry, clocks, and works of art by the legendary firm of Cartier – made for Americans or made in America.” Bernard Fornas, president and C.E.O. of Cartier adds, “At Cartier we are very proud to share our long history with the museums and visitors of San Francisco. Through exchanges between our two continents, from one ocean to another, Cartier revives the memory of those great American clients who have enriched its destiny.”
Giulio De Blaas, Portrait of Marjorie Merriweather Post and Her Daughter, 1929, Italy, oil on canvas.
Cartier Pendant Brooch, 1928, emeralds, diamonds, platinum, and enamel.
Cartier Necklace – Made as special order for Marjorie Merriweather Post (then Mrs. Joseph E. Davies), this necklace features a combination of translucent amethysts and opaque tourquoises reminiscent of the Duchess of Windsor’s 1947 bib necklace.
Hindu Necklace – Arguably the most famous Tutti Fruti piece made by Cartier, this necklace was created as a special order for the Hon. Mrs. Reginald Fellowes, daughter of the Duc Decazes and Isabelle Singer (heiress to the Singer sewing machine fortune). Daisy Fellowes commissioned the necklace after she saw one that Cartier designed for an Indian maharajah in 1935. She supplied many of the gemstones herself.
Tiger Clip Brooch and Ear Clips – Cartier augmented its famous panther jewelry with designs in the form of other big cats. The firm made this tiger brooch and pair of ear clips for Barbara Hutton. Set with yellow diamonds and onyx, the drooping forms resemble the ram’s skin suspended from the insignia of the Order of the Golden Fleece. The head, legs and tail of the brooch are articulated.
Legend has it that the Mexican movie star Maria Felix appeared at Cartier’s rue de la Paix store with a baby crocodile asa model for the necklace. The result was a dramatic, masterly creation that could be worn as two brooches or as a necklace. Each crocodile is made of articulated gold sections. One is set with 1,023 yellow diamonds and has emeralds for eyes. The other has 1,060 emeralds and ruby eyes. Another special order for Maria Felix, the snake necklace, set with 2,473 diamonds, marks the culmination of Cartier’s work in modeling animals for jewelry.
CATALOGUE: CARTIER AND AMERICA
In the exhibition catalogue Cartier and America (176 pages) author and curator Martin Chapman (click on photo for descriptions) offers an in-depth exploration of how Cartier conquered America, tracing compelling connections with key patrons.
The publication, titled Cartier and America, features numerous commissions for American “royalty,” Hollywood stars, and heiresses. American notables who famously collected Cartier include Marion Davies, Mrs. Cole Porter, Mary Pickford, Barbara Hutton, and Elizabeth Taylor.
The catalogue presents images of significant objects complemented, whenever possible, with archival photographs showing the celebrities with their jewels. It is available in the Museum Store (hardcover $29.95). A self-guided audio tour produced by Discovery Audio is also available in the exhibition.
Made of gold with the initials “SG” applied in lapis lazuli, this dressing set was supplied to actor Stewart Granger
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