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WWD Milestones issue 05/18/2009

In the three years since it became a sponsor of Art Basel, Cartier has made a significant mark on Europe’s preeminent exposition of contemporary and modern art.

With each fair, the jeweler presents a project linked to the artists with whom it has worked. Last year, for example, Cartier offered a concert by Patti Smith, following the showing of pictures taken by the rock icon, held at the brand’s Paris foundation.

This story first appeared in the May 18, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

At Art Basel Miami, which Cartier also sponsors, the brand hosted a dinner at which a specially commissioned film of floating diamonds by David Lynch was projected onto the inside of a dome tent.

According to Hervé Chandès, director of the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, the firm benefits from the tie-in with Art Basel, the meeting spot for important galleries and collectors, in many ways. “It’s become such an important fair on the international art calendar,” says Chandès. “It’s a really visible way for Cartier to reaffi rm its link to contemporary art. It puts Cartier in touch with the creation of its time.”

The art fair also is a venue for Cartier to exert its own creativity. “Every year we try to come up with a new idea,” he adds.

For this spring’s Art Basel, which takes place June 10 to 14, Cartier has commissioned Italian artist Alessandro Mendini to create what promises to be a  stunning installation: a soaring column made of gems from Cartier’s ateliers.  “It should attract a lot of attention,” predicts Chandès.

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