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About Erte

The Russian-born painter Romain de Tirtoff, who called himself Erté after the French pronunciation of his initials, was one of the foremost fashion and stage designers of the early 20th century.

Born in St. Petersburg in 1892, Erté created his first successful costume design at the age of five, and was finally allowed to move to Paris in 1912, in fulfillment of his ambition to become a fashion illustrator. He soon gained a contract with the journal Harper's Bazaar, to which he continued to contribute fashion drawings for 22 years producing 250 covers and innumerable drawings for the magazine’s pages.

Erté is perhaps best remembered for the extravagant costumes and stage sets that he designed. Erté also designed for the opera and the traditional theatre, and spent a brief period in Hollywood in 1925, at the invitation of Louis B. Mayer, head of Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer.

After a period of relative obscurity in the 1940s and 1950s, Erté's characteristic style found a new and enthusiastic market in the 1960s, and the artist responded to renewed demand by creating a series of colorful lithographic prints and sculpture.

Erté’s work has been exhibited in prominent museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum in California, The Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and more.  Erte is credited as being the originator of the Art Deco Movement and is the style for which he is identified.

At age 97, Erté fell ill in Mauritius.  He was flown to Paris, his real home, where he died on April 21, 1990. 


An Evening in 1921

Sophisticated Lady
An Evening in 1922
Summer Breeze (lithograph)
The Curtain
Kiss of Fire
Summer Breeze (bronze)