Commissioning works of art is an essential aspect of the Fondation Cartier’s activities. It is 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 goes beyond mere patronage. It becomes a truly creative partnership, from the conception to the execution of the work. It gives the artist the opportunity not only to create something original, but to explore new horizons: working on a different scale, bringing a project to fruition, realizing a dream…
This commissioning policy was initiated in 1984 with a program of workshops and artistic residencies in Jouy-en-Josas, where a wide range of very different artists made their presence felt: Marc Couturier in 1987, Jean-Michel Othoniel in 1989, Absalon, Fabrice Hybert, Huang Yong Ping and Chéri Samba in 1990, Cai Guo-Qiang and Tatsuo Miyajima in 1993.
Since 1994, the policy has taken a different turn and commissions have become more frequent and varied with each program of exhibitions. Thus, in 1999, Sarah Sze worked for a month, transforming the exhibition spaces to produce Everything that Rises Must Converge, an installation that was both monumental and delicate and which now forms part of the collection. In 2000, William Eggleston photographed the deserts of Utah, Arizona and California for the thematic exhibition entitled The Desert. The following year, he took an impressive series of photographs in Kyoto for his solo exhibition. In 2004, Raymond Depardon traveled around the world and, at the request of the Fondation Cartier, made a series of ten films, each devoted to a different large city.
The Fondation Cartier has commissioned individual works or collections of pieces by artists as diverse as Balthasar Burkhard, Marc Newson, Lee Friedlander, Wim Delvoye, Pierrick Sorin, Alessandro Mendini, Tony Oursler, Gary Hill and David Lynch.