CARTIER – Exclusive Exhibit At the Legion of Honor

Cartier and America opens Saturday, December 19th

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

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 Epoque through to the 1960s and 1970s, when Cartier supplied celebrities of the day with their jewels and luxury accessories. Derived mainly from the private Cartier Collection housed in Geneva, 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. The exhibition opens December 19th, 2009 and is available until April 18th, 2010. It is exclusive to the Legion of Honor.

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Elizabeth Taylor, with her Cartier ruby and diamond necklace offered in 1957 by Mike Todd. Photofest.

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Ruby Earrings, rubies and diamonds, 1951. Cartier. Photo, John Bigelow Taylor

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. Private lenders in the United States and France have contributed significant pieces to the exhibition.

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Motorist Necessaire, ca. 1917, gold, wood, black and white enamel, glass, and leather.
Cartier, New York. Nick Welsh, Cartier Collection

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.

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Tiger Clip Brooch, 1957, and Cigarette Case, 1931.
Cartier, Paris. Nick Welsh, Cartier Collection.

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.

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.”

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Gloria Swanson, wearing bracelets supplied by Cartier in 1930. Cartier Archives

THE CATALOGUE
In the exhibition catalogue, author and curator Martin Chapman offers an in-depth exploration of how Cartier conquered America, tracing compelling connections with key patrons. The publication, 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 will be available in the Museum Store in December 2009. A self-guided audio tour produced by Discovery Audio will be available in the exhibition.

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Scarab brooch, 1924, gold, platinum, blue Egyptian faience (wings), round old-cut diamonds, emerald cabochons, smoky quartz (scarab), and black enamel.
Cartier, London. Nick Welsh, Cartier Collection

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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