A space for artistic creation and exchange
At the time of its creation, the Fondation Cartier adopted three founding principles that still define its cultural program today:
- Encourage artistic creation and exchange and in particular emerging artists;
- Favour an international and multidisciplinary approach;
- Guarantee the independence of the Fondation Cartier artistic direction with respect to the Maison Cartier commercial activities.
The Fondation Cartier shapes and produces exhibitions and live performances based on artists’ commissions, embracing all creative disciplines as a reflection of our times.
An exceptional building by Jean Nouvel
In 1994, the Fondation Cartier moved to a new building commissioned to Jean Nouvel, a French architect celebrated in France and throughout the world for the unique way in which he “dematerializes” architectural structure. He also famously designed the Institut du Monde Arabe (1987), the Musée du Quai Branly (2006) in Paris and more recently the Louvre Abu Dhabi (2017).
Acting both as windows and mirrors, the glass walls allow the spectator glimpses of the works exhibited, or reflect the drifting clouds and the urban environment. As a result, the building is in perpetual metamorphosis according to the time of day or night. Jean Nouvel has created a flexible space that encourages artistic creativity. Every project provides new possibilities for reinventing the space.
A community of artists
Over the past 30 years, the Fondation Cartier has built a series of long-lasting relationships with an international community of artists, scientists and scholars from places as diverse as France, China, Congo, Paraguay, Australia, and Italy.
Artists commissions are an essential aspect of the Fondation Cartier’s activities. They are a constructive way of supporting artists by sponsoring the creation of a single work, a series of works or a complete exhibition. During this process, the relationship developed between the Fondation Cartier and the artist becomes a truly creative partnership, from the conception to the execution of the work. It provides the artist with the opportunity not only to create something original, but also to explore new horizons, work on a different scale, connect with new people, bring a project to fruition, or realize a dream.
The Collection as a journey into the worlds of the Fondation Cartier
The Fondation Cartier has been building up its Collection since its beginnings. It now includes more than 1,500 pieces by over 350 artists from nearly 50 different countries. Many works in the Collection are artists commissions that have been made possible by the Fondation Cartier.
The result is an exceptional Collection like no other with many large-scale works made specifically for the transparent gallery spaces designed by Jean Nouvel. Exhibitions and the Collection itself frequently travel abroad—from Tokyo to Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, and Rio de Janeiro.