History and missions

A spirit of discovery

From its very beginnings, the Fondation Cartier has been highly successful in its discovery of new talent. As a springboard for young artists exhibiting for the first time, or for those hitherto unknown in Europe, the Fondation Cartier has helped many of them achieve international recognition.

In 1994, for example, the Fondation Cartier commissioned a monumental video installation from Pierrick Sorin, who has since become a widely-known video artist esteemed throughout the world. In 1995, it exhibited an installation entitled Bucky, From Chemistry to Design by a young designer named Marc Newson. In 1998, for an exhibition called être nature, it commissioned a vertical garden for the glass façade of Jean Nouvel’s building from an artist called Patrick Blanc, who, until then, was relatively unknown to the general public. In 2005, the Fondation Cartier introduced the French public to the work of Ron Mueck, an Australian hyper-realist sculptor, and also displayed a panoramic overview of the work of young artists around the world in an exhibition entitled J’en rêve.J’en rêve brought together the work of more than 60 young artists, several of whom have since achieved international renown. In 2007, the Korean artist Lee Bul held his first solo exhibition at the Fondation Cartier in Paris.

Image gallery

View of the exhibition Pierrick Sorin, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, 2001

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© Pierrick Sorin / Adagp, Paris

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© André Morin

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View of the exhibition Marc Newson, Bucky, de la chimie au design, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, 1995

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© Marc Newson Ltd.

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© Florian Kleinefenn

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View of the exhibition être nature, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, 1998

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© André Morin

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View of the exhibition Ron Mueck, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, 2005-2006

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© Ron Mueck

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© Patrick Gries

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View of the exhibition Lee Bul, On Every New Shadow, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, 2007-2008

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© Lee Bul

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© Patrick Gries

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View of the exhibition Regards croisés : Raymond Depardon / Seydou Keïta, Demirdjian Center, Beirut, 1998

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© Keita / SKPEAC, Courtesy CAAC – The Pigozzi Collection

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© Raymond Depardon / Magnum photos

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View of the exhibition Francesca Woodman, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, 1998

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© The Estate of Francesca Woodman, New York

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© André Morin

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In the field of photography, the Fondation Cartier has shown, for the first time in France, the work of the Malian photographers Seydou Keuta (1994) and Malick Sidibé (1995), as well as works by Francesca Woodman (1998) and Alair Gomes (2001), who are also now universally acclaimed. 

As for work from Japan, the Fondation Cartier has introduced the European public to the photographers Nobuyoshi Araki (1995), Daido Moriyama (2003), and Rinko Kawauchi (2005), and, as part of the être nature exhibition (1998), to the master of ikebana, Yukio Nakagawa. In 2002, two exhibitions were highly successful: Kaikai Kiki, the first large-scale solo exhibition in Europe for the neo-pop painter Takashi Murakami, and Coloriage, designed in cooperation with twenty or so young Japanese artists representing the most contemporary trends in manga illustrations, music, fashion, painting and animated films. In 2006, two exhibitions devoted to the painter Tanadoori Yokoo and to the young artist Tabaimo continued this exploration into Japanese creative arts.