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Cartier Design: A Living Legacy

María Félix in Deauville photographed by Lord Snowdon in 1980. She is wearing her “Crocodile” necklace commissioned from Cartier Paris in 1975 and leaf ear clips created by Cartier Paris in 1967 and altered in 1976. © Photo: Lord Snowdon © D.R. Lord Snowdon / ADAGP/ SOMAAP / México / 2023

The Museo Jumex presents Cartier Design: A Living Legacy, an exhibition that travels across the Maison’s history through a selection of its most iconic jewels.

With almost 160 pieces from the legendary Cartier Collection, as well as private collections and archival documents, the exhibition invites the public to delve into the evolution of Cartier style, the Maison’s distinctive language, its design and savoir-faire.

Curated by Ana Elena Mallet, and museography by architect Frida Escobedo, the exhibition studies Cartier’s design, as well as its craftsmanship, and shows a contemporary view without losing sight of its rich, complex past. The pieces shown here are design objects. They are art, and they are long-lasting, evolving history that remains alive.

Crocodile necklaceCartier Paris, special order, 1975Gold, diamonds, emeralds, rubiesProvenance: María Félix (1914-2002)Length: 30.0 cm; length: 27.3 cmCartier Collection

The pieces in the Cartier Collection and Cartier Design: A Living Legacy are extraordinary watches, jewelry, and decorative objects. In this way, they are a testimony of Cartier’s heritage, its historic importance, and its relevance today.

Snake necklaceCartier Paris, special order, 1968Platinum, white gold, yellow gold, diamonds, emeralds (eyes), enamelProvenance: María Félix (1914-2002)Length: 57 cmCartier Collection

This heritage continues to inspire the Maison’s new generations of designers, who pay tribute to it, keep it alive in its distinctive pioneering spirit, and reimagine it for the present and the future.

The exhibition is divided into five thematic sections:

  • The Early Years and the Birth of a Style
  • Universal Curiosity
  • Jeanne Toussaint’s Taste
  • Measuring Time and Wearing Beauty
  • María Félix and the Icons of Elegance

The story of Jeanne Toussaint is a definitive highlight of the exhibition’s narrative. Toussaint became the Maison’s first female creative director in 1933 and brought Louis Cartier’s vision a permanently evolving society.

Tutti Frutti strap braceletCartier Paris, 1925Platinum, diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, onyxProvenance: Mrs. Cole Porter19.50 x 3.80 cmCartier Collection

Other thematic focal points include the Maison’s iconic codes and styles, such as the panther and the garland style, as well as motifs inspired by different world cultures, like Ancient Egypt, India, Asia, and the Middle East.

Deep documental research of the Cartier Archives reveals the Maison’s creative process and tells the story of characters who acquired and wore these incomparable pieces. Besides silver screen diva María Félix, an absolute symbol of national elegance and a loyal Cartier style believer, relevant Latin American
figures include José Yves Limantour, Porfirio Díaz’s minister of Finance, and Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. Their relationship with the Maison and their timeless legacy is essential to this exhibition.

In this way, the exhibition confirms Cartier’s significance in the cultural landscape. The pieces exhibited here are design objects, consciously constructed with mastery and excellency. Their production is based on heritage and traditional processes, while at the same time, it incorporates new research and
production methods, as well as technological advances.

BangleCartier Paris, special order, 1934Platinum, diamonds7.22 x 8.12 x 3.10 cm Cartier Collection

The Cartier Collection’s history began nearly 50 years ago when the Maison embarked on a mission to recover iconic pieces signed by Cartier. In 1983, the Cartier Collection was born reflecting the Maison’s savoir-faire, its cultural legacy, and its rich history. With a selection that travels back to 1860 and into
the twentieth century, the Cartier Collection has borne witness and been a participant in history, featuring pieces exclusively made for royals, socialites, and celebrities like María Félix and Barbara Hutton. Today, the Cartier Collection continues to grow and boasts more than 3,000 pieces.

Cartier Design: A Living Legacy, Gallery 2, 15th March – 14th May 2023, Museo Jumex

This exhibition marks the Cartier Collection’s return to Mexico, 24 years after a first presentation at the Palace of Fine Arts. Over the past few years, the Collection has visited museums like The National Art Center in Tokyo, the Grand Palais in Paris, and the Design Museum in London.

A public and educational program will launch alongside Cartier Design: A Living Legacy, bringing Cartier’s art to diverse audiences through several academic tools. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, edited by Fundación Jumex and Rizzoli.



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