Ceiling, custom-made for Shangri La's foyer

Rene Martin1937

Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design

Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design

The foyer’s ceiling was custom-made for Shangri La by Moroccan artisans working under the supervision of the Rabat-based firm S.A.L.A.M. René Martin. Photographs preserved in the Shangri La Historical Archives document the fabrication of this ceiling, as well as other wood and plaster architectural elements (doors, balustrades, screens, spandrels, friezes) in Morocco. The Moroccan commissions were Doris Duke’s second major campaign as a patron of “living” artisanal craftsmanship in the Islamic world (the first being the Mughal Suite ordered in India during the 1935 honeymoon). Duke first traveled to the French protectorate of Morocco in 1937, as part of an extended tour of Europe with her then-husband James Cromwell. After visiting North Africa, the Cromwells met the eponymous founder of S.A.L.A.M. René Martin in Antibes in July 1937. At that meeting, the Cromwells and Martin drafted a preliminary contract for custom-made work for Shangri La, including this ceiling and an even larger example for the living room (64.49).

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  • Title: Ceiling, custom-made for Shangri La's foyer
  • Creator: Rene Martin
  • Date Created: 1937
  • Physical Dimensions: Overall: 218 x 516 in. (553.7 x 1310.6cm)
  • Type: Woodwork
  • External Link: View on the Shangri La Website
  • Medium: Wood (cedar), pigments, gilding, bole, varnish
  • On View: Foyer
  • Object Number: 64.3
  • Culture: Morocco