Erte (1892- 1989)

"The most gratifying feeling I experienced as I entered my nineties came from the immediate success of my sculpture collection, and the realization that I have touched the lives of so many art collectors who otherwise might never have know this phase of my work. " -Erte

Born Remain de Tirtoff in imperial St. Petersburg, Erte derived his pen name from the French pronunciation of his initials "R.T." Over a long and distinguished career, he had a major influence on the style and design of the 20th Century.

The fashion and stage designer known as Erté was born in 1892 to a wealthy family in St. Petersburg , Russia by the birth name Romain de Tirtoff, and he may be the epitomy of flamboyance not to mention longevity in the 20th century design. From an early age, Erté did not wish to folloow his father, who was an Admiral in the Imperial Russian Navy, into the military. Erté showed extraordinary talent for design, creating his first costume at the age of 5 and subsequently moving to Paris in 1912 at the age of 18. There, he found work immediately as a fashion illustrator and learned the art of couture working with Parisian designer Paul Poiret, visualizing how clothes could affect the look of the female body.

At age 19, Erte left home and moved to Paris where he gained employment with the esteemed coutur-ier Poiret. Shortly thereafter, he began the 22-year pursuit which would make him famous: creating cover art and illustrations for the magazine Harper's Bazaar. It was here that his distinctive Art Deco-style emerged.

During his prolific years at Harper's, Erte designed 250 covers and numerous drawings for its pages and diversified into a variety of other artistic activities. After a fling in Hollywood designing for extravagant silent films including Ben Hur, Erte left the magazine to create sets and costumes for theater and opera. For the next 40 years, he dressed an extraordinary roster of opera, stage and screen stars, including Mary Garden, Josephine Baker, Marion Davies, Lillian Gish. Mata Hari and Anna Pavlova. These achievements earned him the title "Father of Art Deco".

In 1967 the Metropolitan Museum of Art purchased and exhibited a collection of some 200 Erte gouaches. Shows in London followed, bringing Erte even more recognition. His success at these exhibitions was summarized by the noted London Sunday Times art critic John Russell (later of the New York Times) who wrote, "If Michelangelo were to come back from the dead he could hardly have greater or more eulogious publicity than has been accorded to Erte."

At age 75, Erte began to create limited edition serigraphs based on his designs. This medium allowed a wider audience to enjoy his work and helped satisfy popular demand for these images. International success in this endeavor led him to expand his work to a variety of materials, most notably bronze.

The influence of Erie's style and the demand for his art live on. His work belongs to prestigious museum collections throughout the world, most notably the Smithsonian, The Victoria and Albert Museum (London). New York's Metropolitan Museum and The Museum of Modern Art. Many books have been published on the artist's life and work, including Erte at Ninef^-Five: The Complete New Graphics [The Extended Edition] and Erte—The Last Works. As the exclusive publisher of Erte, Chalk & Vermilion Fine Arts of Greenwich, CT is pleased to make available, through your local gallery, his limited edition serigraphs, bronze sculptures, books and posters.

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