Erte, a pioneer of Art Deco, was a man of many talents, making significant contributions to the world of fashion, theatre, and graphic design. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1892 as Romain de Tirtoff, Erte became an artist, costume designer, and more.
Erte is best known for his glamorous illustrations of women in elegant, flowing dresses, and his Art Deco jewelry designs with long, flexible coils, and striking geometric shapes. Inspired by the style and glamour of 1920s Hollywood, Erte’s work burst with fantasy, luxury, and sophistication.
Erte’s career began at Harper’s Bazaar magazine in 1915, where he worked as a young artist. His sketches quickly grabbed the attention of fashion editors, who commissioned him to design fashion illustrations for the magazine. Erte also worked on numerous theatrical productions in London and Paris, designing costumes and sets for operas, musicals, and revues.
In the mid-20th century, Erte worked on Broadway, designing costumes and settings for “The Ziegfeld Follies,” “Paris,” and “Stardust.” During the 1970s, Erte published a series of limited-edition serigraphs that showcased his signature Art Deco style.
Erte’s work is characterized by sharp, angular lines and cascading ribbons of fabric. He frequently used metallic colors like gold, silver, and bronze, which lent his pieces a sense of glamour and luxury. Many of his works also feature intricate patterns and motifs, such as wings, butterflies, and flowers.
Erte created over 200 prints during his lifetime, producing designs for perfume bottles, book and record covers, sets, and costumes for theatre productions, and many other items. Among his most famous works are “Symphony in Black,” “The Tempest,” “The Alphabet,” and “The Zodiac.”
Despite his fame and success in the art world, Erte remained humble and true to his craft. He continued to work well into his 90s, producing designs for many famous brands, including Louis Vuitton, Seagrams, and the Circle Gallery.
Erte’s contributions to the art world are significant, as his work has influenced countless designers, architects, and artists in the decades since its creation. He remains a symbol of glamour and elegance, capturing the spirit of the 1920s and 30s like no other artist of his time. Erte’s legacy continues to inspire artists and designers around the world today.