Jeweled Splendors of the Art Deco Era: The Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan Collection at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, April 7 – August 27, 2017

Jeweled Splendors of the Art Deco Era: The Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan Collection features more than 100 extraordinary examples of luxury cigarette and vanity cases, compacts, clocks and other objects. The collection, personal gifts from Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan (1933–2003) to his wife, Catherine (b. 1938), was amassed over three decades and displays the excitement, innovation and creativity of the Art Deco era at its most luxurious. It includes exquisite work from the premier jewelry houses of Europe and America—among them Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Lacloche Frères, Boucheron and Bulgari—dating from 1910 to 1938.

“A collection with a rich and storied history, these magnificent works represent the foremost craftsmanship of their era,” said Cooper Hewitt Director Caroline Baumann. “With exotic motifs exquisitely formed with the finest jewels, metals and precious stones, these boxes, timepieces and jewelry also are virtuosic demonstrations of artistic expressivity and mastery of ancient techniques. Concurrently on view in association with ‘The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s,’ this exhibition offers an unprecedented opportunity to see these objects in the context of the dramatic societal and technological changes impacting the world during this pivotal moment in early modern history.”

Rabbit Vanity Case, ca. 1924; Produced by Cartier (Paris, France); Gold, seed pearls, diamonds, sapphires, enamel, ruby, sapphire, pencil, mount of 18-karat gold; 10.4 x 5 x 1.7 cm (4 1/8 x 2 x 11/16 in.); Photo: Doug Rosa

Imperial Door Vanity Case, ca. 1924; Produced by Lacloche Frères (Paris, France); Manufactured by Strauss, Allard & Meyer (France); Lacquer, carved onyx, coral, diamonds, mirrored plate glass, gold, platinum; 8.3 x 4.8 x 1.7 cm (3 1/4 x 1 7/8 x 11/16 in.); Photo: Doug Rosa

Zen Garden Vanity Case, ca. 1925; Produced by Linzeler & Marchak (France); Manufactured by Strauss, Allard & Meyer (France); Mosaic by Vladimir Makovsky (Russian, active Paris, 1884-1966); Enamel, hardstone, mother-of-pearl, diamonds, gold, platinum, mirrored plate glass; 9.5 x 5.3 x 1.2 cm (3 3/4 x 2 1/16 x 1/2 in.); Photo: Doug Rosa

Panther Vanity Case, 1925; Produced by Cartier (Paris, France); Rubies, mother-of-pearl, turquoise, onyx, diamonds, gold, platinum; 10.2 x 4.4 x 1.8 cm (4 in. x 1 3/4 in. x 11/16 in.); Photo: Doug Rosa.

Fern Compact (France), ca. 1929; Enamel, rose-cut diamonds, mirrored plate glass, gold, platinum; 8.2 x 5.4 x 1.3 cm (3 1/4 x 2 1/8 x 1/2 in.); Photo: Doug Rosa

Cypress Tree Vanity Case, 1928; Produced by Van Cleef & Arpels (Paris, France); Manufactured by Alfred Langlois (France); Gold, enamel, diamonds, onyx, platinum, mirrored plate glass; 8.7 x 5 x 1.1 cm (3 7/16 x 1 15/16 x 7/16 in.); Photo: Doug Rosa

Persian Mosque Vanity Case, ca. 1929; Produced by Black, Starr & Frost (New York, New York, USA); Plaque made by Vladimir Makovsky (Russian, active Paris, 1884-1966); Mother-of-pearl, hardstone, enamel, gold, diamonds, platinum; L x W x D: 8.2 x 5.8 x 1.8 cm (3 1/4 x 2 5/16 x 11/16 in.); Photo: Doug Rosa

Noble Hunt Vanity Case, ca. 1930; Produced by Lacloche Frères (Paris, France); Mother-of-pearl, carved hardstone, enamel, diamonds, mount of platinum and gold; 9 x 4.7 x 1.3 cm (3 9/16 x 1 7/8 x 1/2 in.); Photo: Doug Rosa

Noble Hunt Vanity and Cigarette Case, 1930; Produced by Van Cleef & Arpels (Paris, France); Mother-of-pearl, hardstone, gold, rose-cut diamonds, enamel, mount of gold; 8.8 x 5.6 x 2 cm (3 7/16 x 2 3/16 x 13/16 in.); Photo: Doug Rosa

Striped Agate Cigarette or Card Box (probably France), ca. 1919; Carved, striated agate, rose-cut diamonds in platinum settings; 8.6 x 5.5 x 1.7 cm, 3 1/4 x 2 1/8 x 5/16 inches; Photo: Doug Rosa

Box, ca 1927; Produced by Cartier (Paris, France); Gold mounted with lacque burgauté panels, carve coral, black enamel, cabochon emeralds, fluted-carved nephrite, mirrored plate glass (interior); 8.7 x 5.9 x 2.5 cm (3 7/16 in. x 2 5/16 in. x 1 in.); Photo: Doug Rosa

Vanity Case, ca. 1927; Produced by Cartier (Paris, France); Manufactured by Henri Lavabre (French); Lapis lazuli, carved jade, carved ruyi, coral, diamonds, lacquer, mirrored plate glass, gold, platinum; 9.9 x 5.2 x 1.7 cm (3 7/8 x 2 1/16 x 11/16 in.); Photo: Doug Rosa

Box, 1928; Produced by Van Cleef & Arpels (Paris, France); Manufactured by Strauss, Allard & Meyer (France); Lapis lazuli, diamonds, frosted rock crystal, jadeite, white gold; 6 x 7.6 x 1.6 cm (2 3/8 in. x 3 in. x 5/8 in.); Photo: Doug Rosa

Chrysanthemum Vanity Case, ca. 1928; Produced by Lacloche Frères (Paris, France); Manufactured by Strauss, Allard & Meyer (France); Ruby, amethyst, sapphire, onyx, diamonds, emeralds, enamel, white gold; L x W x D: 7.5 x 4.4 x 1.6 cm (2 15/16 x 1 3/4 x 5/8 in.); Photo: Doug Rosa

Retrograde Clock, 1927; Produced by Verger Frères (Paris, France); Movement manufactured by Vacheron Constantin (Geneva, Switzerland); Black onyx, rock crystal, diamond; 16.5 x 11 x 5 cm (6 1/2 x 4 5/16 x 1 15/16 in.); Photo: Doug Rosa

Imperial Guardian Lion Mystery Clock, 1929; Produced by Maurice Couet (French, 1885-1963) for Cartier (Paris, France); Carved nephrite, enamel, gold, cabochon emeralds, cabochon rubies, carved citrine, rose-cut diamonds, carved coral, pearls, platinum; 17 x 9.3 x 16.2 cm (6 11/16 x 3 11/16 x 6 3/8 in.); Photo: Doug Rosa

The accompanying 256-page publication published by Thames & Hudson features essays by Sarah D. Coffin, curator and head of product design and decorative arts at Cooper Hewitt; Stephen Harrison, curator of decorative art and design at the Cleveland Museum of Art; and Evelyne Possémé, chief curator, Musée des Arts décoratifs, Paris.

Images courtesy Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.