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Islamic Inspirations: Unveiling Cartier's Historic Designs at Louvre Abu Dhabi

‘Cartier: Islamic Inspiration and Modern Design’ runs until March 24 at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is currently hosting a spectacular event, the "Cartier: Islamic Inspiration and Modern Design" exhibition, captivating visitors until March 24. This exhibition goes beyond just showing off Cartier's opulent jewelry; its central focus is to explore the historical influence of Islamic art and the broader visual culture of the East, spanning from Africa to Persia and India, on Cartier's artistry as early as the 1900s.

During the early 20th century in Paris, there was a significant intersection between European society and Islamic arts, spurred by the decline of the Qajar and Ottoman Empires. This period saw a migration of artworks from these regions to the European art market, alongside the occurrence of global exhibitions. Fakhera Al-Kindi, senior curatorial assistant at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, remarked on the captivating visual compositions and color palettes that fascinated the European audience, representing a novel sense of modernity.

The exhibition examines how Islam-related art historically influenced the unique craftsmanship of Cartier.

Displayed within a softly illuminated gallery, the exhibition features a varied collection of more than 400 items, encompassing books, brooches, bracelets, tiaras, ceramics, and notable artifacts previously in the possession of prominent figures such as Elizabeth Taylor and the Duchess of Windsor Wallis Simpson. Cartier's designers drew inspiration from the geometric and ornate designs found in detailed publications and preserved in museum collections, particularly at the Louvre and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Additionally, architectural marvels, such as the blue-tiled buildings of Samarkand, Uzbekistan, are showcased, highlighting Cartier's broad sources of influence.

“Oriental” bandeau by Cartier Paris in 1911.

The Cartier brothers' travels to countries like India and Bahrain enriched their designs with precious materials like pearls and carved gemstones, enhancing the quality and aesthetic appeal of their creations. Al-Kindi explained how artists at Cartier reinterpreted and transformed their sources of inspiration, undergoing various stages of creative development to produce unique pieces. This exhibition offers a visually stimulating experience, making it accessible and engaging for all attendees.

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