Erté, the Art Deco genius

Erté, the Art Deco genius
09/19/2014 Alicia L.

Erté (French pronunciation of his initials R and T) is the pseudonym of the Russian artist Romain de Tirtoff. He was born to a wealthy family in St. Petersburg (1892). He was a Russian painter, illustrator, designer, sculptor and couturier. His Art Deco style, with some echoes of modernism, was characterized by a stylish, decorative and ornamental taste.

erté art decó

He was a Russian painter, illustrator, designer, sculptor and couturier. His Art Deco style, with some reminiscences of modernism, was characterized by a stylish, decorative and ornamental taste. He made fashion designs, jewelry, graphic arts, interior design, costumes and scenery for films, theater, and opera.

At 18 he moved to Paris where he became known as Erté, working for a lot of magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar where for 22 years he created numerous cover illustrations. At the same time, he began working as a costume designer.

erte harpers bazaar

erte vogue

In 1913, he designed the costumes for the famous Mata Hari for Le Minaret made by Poiret. His work is characterized by a dramatic Art Deco style that derives from Indian and Persian miniatures and linear traces from Greek ceramic.

Mata Hari

His female figures tend to androgyny, Erté was in favor of  Apollonian muscles. His enthusiasm for  male bodies of ballet dancers is reflected in the strong homoeroticism of his designs.

erté masculine

In his early years, he was interested in reforming the male wardrobe in a smart dandy style, but also wore them with rainbow colors and suits adorned with feminine fabrics.

erté design

He worked for the Folies-Bergère and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios. His style inspired artistic movement during the twentieth century; The Art Deco. He designed costumes for theater, movies, and celebrities of that moment: Joan Crawford, Lillian Gish, Marion Davies, Anna Pavlova or Norma Shearer among others.

Ziegfeld Model - Risque - 1920s - by Alfred Cheney Johnston. Restored by Nick & jane. Enjoy!

Ziegfeld Model – Risque – 1920’s – by Alfred Cheney Johnston.

In the aftermath of the war, the second success of Erté began when he met Eric Estorick (a London art dealer) in 1967. Impressed by his excellent artwork in the Erté’s studio in Paris, Estorick was determined to relaunch the career of Erté.

This effort was rewarded with a spectacular success in New York and London. The enthusiastic response of many personalities who came to Erté exhibitions gave the strongest indication that there was a public interest in his work yet.

erte

There was a renewed interest (both academic and commercial) in the Art Deco style, and as he remained prolific in this style, Art Deco, and Erté became virtually synonymous.

Erté will be remembered for their extravagant dresses, where he was able to maximize their taste for the exotic, romantic and lyrical interpretation of the human figure.

erte the balcony

If you want to see more of his artwork, you can follow on our Erté Pinterest board. Don’t miss more articles like this and subscribe to our newsletter.

Images via: www.erte.com | http://rogallery.com/Erte/erte-hm.htm

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