Friday, February 25, 2022

Sixième Sens par Cartier, Cartier et les Arts d’Islam, MAD


Poster by George Barbier
Almost every year jewelers Cartier comes out with a new lush book. This year’s luscious book; 📕 Sixième Sens par Cartier: High Jewelry and Precious Objects by François Chaille has kept me distracted drawing 🐆 panthères, Jeanne Toussant, and multi-colored gem stones.

Jeanne came to Paris at 15 from a family of Belgian lacemakers. Already stylish, chic and charismatic, she met the right people including soon-to-be close friend Coco Chanel and Louis Cartier, who was instantly enthralled. He affectionately called her "Ma petite panthère". Her apartment was filled with animal skins, collected and gifted to her from around the world. She was famously known for wearing a full-length coat made of panther fur 🐆. 
Toussaint was hired by Louis Cartier in 1913 at age 26, the same year he met her, to be in charge of designing accessories (though she could not draw a line). In 1933, Louis made her full artistic director of all Cartier design, a unique position for a woman at that time. She retired in 1970 at age 80.
Cartier’s iconic panther logo evolved from her unique animal obsession and designs. “At the beginning of twentieth century, big cats were en vogue for expressing femininity – in fact, the beast was seen as the ultimate expression of femininity,” Says Geo Cramer.
Her large cat-themed brooches, bracelets, rings were exquisitely made of the finest, most decadent materials. Cartier’s eminent clients (Duchess of Windsor, Marjorie Merriwether Post, Daisy Fellows, Grace Kelly to name a few) adored her panther 🐆 designs.
Another of Toussaint’s specialities was art deco geometric jewelry inspired by the Mughuls and the Maharajas designs of India.
Original pieces were brought back, taken apart and put back together with added layers, mixing up many colored stones; rubies, emeralds, sapphires, amethysts.
Cut in the form of flowers and berries, the style was called “Tutti Frutti” and is still an integral part of the Cartier Collection.
Cartier as well was creating opulent pieces for Indian maharajas. Brother Jacques Cartier, who ran the London store, was traveling in the East finding trends and gem sources.
Recently MAD(musee des Arts Decoratifs had an exhibition of Cartier et les Arts d’Islam.
An opportunity to see original Islamic designs side by side 
With many Cartier bracelets, rings, necklaces, tiaras. 
The influence of Persian and Indian opulent geometric patterns 
Is immediately self-evident. 
Colors and patterns of Islamic ornamentation taken from rugs, pottery, decorative tiles, miniatures 
Show up in the design of cabochon emerald necklaces 
And an emerald and diamond belt buckle no less.
Truly an inspiring Aladdin’s treasure trove of splendors, both in the new book, Sixième Sens par Cartier: High Jewelry and Precious Objects and the past MAD exhibit. I could not stop sketching these beauties. Mille merci Cartier 👏 On my bridge looks like jewels 💎 on the Seine non?


  1. Thanks for the art-filled blog and the peek into life in Paris. I always get excited to see Paris Breakfast in my inbox.

  2. The exhibit that was at MAD will open at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) in mid-May*. I'm a member of the DMA, and will definitely visit that exhibition -- especially since your wonderful "intro"!
    Mille Merci !!

  3. I love your jewels on the Seine! How lovely to be on that bateau mouches right now!

  4. This was fabulous. Thank you so much.

  5. Do you know the artist of the large poster of the lady and the cat at the beginning ofyour post? It reminds me of Erté one of my favorite artists! Thanks

  6. Its by George Barbier and very famous

  7. Super newsletter- I wish I could see this exhibit. I saw a great one a few yesrs ago in a myseum above another famous jewelry business but can remember the name.

  8. Sixième Sens looks like a fabulous book! And Jeanne Toussant…what a fabulous life…to have designed Cartier’s signature panther jewelry. The emerald cabochon necklace is beyond fabulous! (I know we share the emerald as our birthstone…lucky us!) Fun to drool over, Carol. Your watercolors of Cartier jewelry are beautiful! ❤️

  9. More on Barbier:
    George Barbier (French: [ʒɔʁʒ baʁbje]), né Georges Augustin Barbier, (1882–1932) was one of the great French illustrators of the early 20th century. Born in Nantes, France on 16 October 1882, Barbier was 29 years old when he mounted his first exhibition in 1911 and was subsequently swept to the forefront of his profession with commissions to design theatre and ballet costumes, to illustrate books, and to produce haute couture fashion illustrations. For the next 20 years Barbier led a group from the Ecole des Beaux Arts who were nicknamed by Vogue "The Knights of the Bracelet"—a tribute to their fashionable and flamboyant mannerisms and style of dress. Included in this élite circle were Bernard Boutet de Monvel and Pierre Brissaud (both of whom were Barbier's first cousins), Paul Iribe, Georges Lepape, and Charles Martin. During his career Barbier also turned his hand to jewellery, glass and wallpaper design, wrote essays and many articles for the prestigious Gazette du bon ton. In the mid-1920s he worked with Erté to design sets and costumes for the Folies Bergère and in 1929 he wrote the introduction for Erté's acclaimed exhibition and achieved mainstream popularity through his regular appearances in L'Illustration magazine. Barbier died in 1932 at the very pinnacle of his success. He is buried in Cemetery Miséricorde, Nantes.

  10. Thanks - I will check out his work!

  11. Wow! What an amazing career Jeanne had, the 1920's were an interesting time. Lovely jewels and paintings. Thanks for showing us your more affordable bridge jewels.

  12. Your coverage of this Cartier exhibit is just wonderful!

  13. It has been a joy looking and reading about your outings. You are very appreciative.

  14. Interesting background info on Cartier!


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