THE COLE PORTER EYE OF HORUS BRACELET: AN ART DECO EGYPTIAN BRACELET BY CARTIER, PARIS, 1928

SOLD: Acquired by the Cartier Collection

A bracelet composed of a carved eye of Horus faience bead sided by black enamel, diamonds, cabochon sapphires, turquoise, and lapis lazuli on a flexible band; mounted in yellow gold and platinum, with French assay marks

  • Reproduction of original bracelet workshop photograph
  • Length: 6 1/2 inches

Additional cataloguing

Certification

  • Cartier Certificates of Authenticity GE2011-146, dated November 15, 2011, stating the bracelet is “Cartier Paris, 1928.”

 

Provenance

  • Linda Lee Porter (Mrs. Cole Porter)
  • Princess Natalie Paley (Mrs. John C. Wilson)

 

Literature

  • Busch, Jason T., and Catherine L. Futter. Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs, 1851–1939. New York: Skira Rizzoli, 2012, p. 218.
  • Young-Sánchez, Margaret, et. al. Cartier in the 20th Century. New York: The Vendome Press, 2014, pp. 78–79.

 

Exhibition

  • Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century, Denver Art Museum, Denver, October 15, 2014–January 31, 2015.
  • Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs, 1851–1939,The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO, April 14–August 19, 2012;Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA, October 13, 2012–February 24, 2013;New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA, April 12–August 4, 2013;Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC, September 22, 2013–January 19, 2014.
  • Cartier and America. Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, December 19, 2009May 9, 2010.

 

Biography

Cartier was founded in Paris in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier. His three grandsons, Louis, Pierre, and Jacques, built the house into a famous international jewelry empire serving royalty, Hollywood stars, and socialites. Cartier has created some of the most important jewelry and objects of art of the twentieth century with many iconic designs such as mystery clocks, Tutti Frutti jewelry and the Panthère line. In 1983, The Cartier Collection was established with the objective of acquiring important pieces that trace the firm’s artistic evolution. Today, Cartier has 200 stores in 125 countries.

 

Significance

Egyptian culture has influenced artists and designers since Napoleon first excavated in Egypt in 1789. But the style did not come to full fruition until Howard Carter discovered King Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922. Cartier created jewelry inspired by objects from the excavation, and sometimes, as in this bracelet, combined ancient artifacts in modern settings.

This bracelet epitomizes Cartier’s foray into creating jewelry that integrates ancient artifacts into a contemporary composition. Comissined by Linda LeePorter, the elaborate jewel uses enamel, onyx, diamonds, lapis lazuli, and turquoise to great effect against the faience bead combining art historical reference with bold Art Deco shapes and design.

Cartier created only a few jewels in the mid 1920s that incorporate ancient artifacts into a modern design. This piece a truly striking work of art is one of the most remarkable examples and has an impeccable provenance. Featured in numerous books and museum exhibitions, this would be an import

The Cartier, Paris, workshop photos of the bracelet commissioned by Linda Lee Porter in 1928.

Princess Natalie Paley photographed by Edward Steichen, circa 1935. A member of the Romanov family, Princess Paley was first cousin to Tsar Nicholas II. Expatriated to France, she became a fashion model, socialite, and actress known for her great beauty and exceptional style.

A photo from a costume ball featuring Cole Porter (left), Fuclo di Verdura (center), and Linda Lee Porter (second from right). Photo from the album of Princess Natalie Paley now at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Linda Lee Porter gifted this Cartier set to Natalie Paley.