On October 20, 1984, Cartier launched the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, the first corporate foundation in France for the promotion of contemporary art. With its visionary conception of patronage, the Fondation Cartier invented a new approach to exhibition-making, multidisciplinary in nature and characterized by a spirit of curiosity and inquiry. In 1994, the Fondation Cartier relocated to a brand new glass-and-steel structure designed by French architect Jean Nouvel on Paris’s Boulevard Raspail in the Montparnasse area. In this unique setting, exhibitions, conferences, and artistic productions come to life. At once a creative space for artists and a place where art and the public can meet, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain is dedicated to promoting and raising public awareness of contemporary art.
Founded and chaired by Alain Dominique Perrin, and directed by Hervé Chandès, the Fondation Cartier organizes a program of exhibitions based on solo shows of international artists or group shows around subjects relating to art as well as society in general. In what was a pioneering move at the time in Europe, the Fondation Cartier first presented itself to the art world and the public as a platform where both new and established artists from around the globe could freely engage. From the first, The Fondation Cartier’s aim was to serve as a crossroads where the most disparate genres of art, knowledge, and civilizations would come together for discussions in a truly cosmopolitan spirit, throwing open the doors to themes largely absent from museums at that time. It has constantly encouraged inquisitiveness, explored unexpected subjects, and sparked lasting conversations between groups as diverse as artists, philosophers, scientists, and filmmakers, as well as providing long-term support to a wide range of artists.
New works are often commissioned in parallel with these exhibitions, and many of these works become part of the Fondation Cartier Collection.
Other activities complete the exhibition program in Paris: Nomadic Nights, a vibrant long-standing program of dance, music, and performing art, while Nights of Uncertainty bring together artists, scientists and thinkers.
Enhancing the international scope of its programming and acquisitions, the Fondation Cartier has also organized numerous tours of its exhibitions: Tokyo, Sydney, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, and Buenos Aires. These tours have been made possible by the relationships the Fondation has formed over the years with the world’s most prestigious cultural institutions, such as CCK, where the Fondation Cartier is proud to exhibit its Collection today. In France and throughout the world, the Fondation Cartier remains dedicated to caring for and about artists, to promoting inquisitiveness and disorientation, freedom and originality, singularity and pluralism.
The Fondation Cartier’s Collection
For over 33 years, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain Collection can be seen as the most direct expression of Cartier’s patronage. Its commitment to sourcing and collecting contemporary artworks is one of the major unique features of the Fondation Cartier and serves to strengthen its relationship with artists.
Since it was created, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain has overseen the planning of exhibitions by commissioning works to display in the galleries. When they enter the Collection, these original artworks, which are specially created for the exhibitions, become the memory of the
Fondation Cartier and stand as a testament to artists’ dreams come true.
Now spanning nearly 1,500 works by more than 350 artists of around 50 different nationalities, the Collection is truly representative of the diversity of art being produced today and is also reflective of the many relationships now established with artists worldwide. Each new artwork offers a unique perspective on the world. Together, they witness the creativity of our times with clarity, beauty and poetry.
Works from the Collection are featured in numerous exhibitions at institutions both in France and around the world, where they are loaned out for personal or themed exhibitions. The Collection is also displayed in exhibitions devoted to it.