Behind the Artist: Romain de Tirtoff (Erté)

Fashion, architecture, theatre, and art. In 2017, the study and intrigue of these cultural foundations can be traced back to one man: Romain de Tirtoff, or Erté.

Until recent history, the very notion of leisure and non-utilitarian possessions were only reserved for the privileged. When 18th-century industrialism gave rise to a working class, art and culture rose. This population redefined the definitions of taste and luxury in a cultural renaissance.

Charleston Couple Erte Park West Gallery

“Charleston Couple” (1980), Erte

Fast-forward to the early 1900s, where the spirit of Modernity prospered, manifested by larger-than-life architecture, theatre districts, and daring artistic conventions. It is here where illustrator and designer Erté flourished.

Using the past as a precedent, the Russian-born artist helped establish the principles of contemporary design, fashion, publishing, and theatre throughout Paris, New York City, and Hollywood.

Erte Park West Gallery

Erte

Historically regarded as one of the founders of the Art Deco movement, Erté set the visual pace of the 20th century and solidified the interdependency of art and culture.

For more insight on Erté — the Art Deco imaginary —below are three details that highlight his artistic practice.

 

Abstraction for the Ages

Lafayette Erte Park West Gallery

“Lafayette” (1979), Erte

There is something inherently modern about Erté’s aesthetic, exemplified in illustration, gouache painting, serigraphy, and sculpture.

Although the artist’s feminine figures exude an unrestrained sense of confidence and spectacle, they aren’t wholly representational of a woman at any one time or place. His women, tangled in costume, don’t speak for themselves but rather for the sensibility of an industrial, cross-cultural, and fearless era.

Blossom Umbrella Erte Park West Gallery

“Blossom Umbrella” (1979), Erte

Characterized by sharp, geometric lines and flat, stencil-like imagery, Erté’s compositions are subtly reminiscent of ancient Greek figure pottery and Edo-period Japanese woodblock prints, revealing that modernity is not beside history, but part and parcel to it.

 

Lights, Camera, Fashion!

Erté moved to Paris in 1912 at the age of 19 to study art and fashion, and soon sourced a cosmopolitan influence of his own.

The young artist began his esteemed career under one of the most respected Parisian couturiers at the time: Paul Poiret, whose influence in the fashion industry is likened to Pablo Picasso’s legacy as a painter. This tutelage eventually led Erté to become the premiere costume designer at the Folies-Bergère, a historic Parisian opera house.

Hera Erte Park West Gallery

“Hera” (1981), Erte

Aside from pioneering the fashions of unisex clothing, asymmetrical hemlines, and tailored professional-wear, Erté also held a stake in modern publishing.  Erté worked for the fashion authority, “Harper’s Bazaar” for 22 years and designed more than 240 magazine covers.

 

From the Museum to You 

As Erté’s celebrity grew, so did his audience, as well as a keen demand for his original paintings and illustrations. Erté began to publish limited-edition serigraphs, lithographs, and bronze sculptures, which are offered for purchase by Park West Gallery.

Selection of a Heart Erte Park West Gallery

“Selection of a Heart” (1978), Erte

Erté’s work can be found in the permanent collections of several, world-renowned museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art , the Tokyo National Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution.

From June 21, 2016 to September 19, 2016 the historic State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia featured the exhibition, “Erte: An Art Deco Genius.”

For more biographical information about the artist or to add a historic Erté to your collection, contact our gallery consultants at (800) 521-9654 ext. 4 or sales@parkwestgallery.com.

Leave a comment

Prove you\'re human. *

Latest News

  • 5 Tips on How to Overcome Creative Block From Professional Artists

    Creative block can strike at any time, stifling your inspiration and grinding your productivity to a halt. It’s something anyone who has tackled a creative project has experienced at one ...
    Read More
  • Meet the Artist: 10 Questions with England’s Clare Sykes

    Clare Sykes knows a thing or two about beauty.This astoundingly accomplished English artist is an expert when it comes to capturing the majesty of the natural world on canvas. ...
    Read More
  • These 12 Works of Art Will Help You Beat the Summer Heat

    Let’s face it, as much as we all yearned for warmer weather during this past winter and spring, this summer has been a hot one.If you feel as if ...
    Read More
  • Pablo Picasso: How One Spanish Artist Changed Art Forever [VIDEO]

      Why does everyone know ...
    Read More
  • Beating the Odds: Foster Care Support Programs Are Helping Youth Succeed at College

    Antwinae McNeil didn’t have a typical upbringing. Whereas most teens hang out with their friends or enjoying family meals, Antwinae worried if she would have a place to call home.At ...
    Read More
  • Auctioneer Spotlight: Ty and Gracie Braga

    Over and over again, Park West collectors have told us that one of the highlights of their collecting experience is the lasting friendships they develop with our art auctioneers and ...
    Read More
  • Stairway to Heaven: Fascinating New Salvador Dalí Exhibition Begins U.S. Tour

    Salvador Dalí is one of the most famous artists of the 20th century, but there are far more aspects to the artist’s career than just his notoriously mind-bending paintings.This ...
    Read More
  • Celebrate Independence Day with Our Summer Sale Americana Art

    In the United States, the Fourth of July stirs up patriotism in everyone. Regardless of your background or beliefs, Independence Day is a time for the country to come together ...
    Read More
  • Park West Recruiter Wins Big on ‘The Price is Right’

    Park West Gallery Recruiter Neil Nussbaum and his wife, Hannah, have always been huge fans of “The Price is Right.”When they first met, they bonded over their shared love ...
    Read More
  • Jerusalem Post Profiles ‘Icon’ Yaacov Agam for His 90th Birthday

    “There are only a few words that accurately describe Yaacov Agam,” says Park West Gallery Founder and CEO Albert Scaglione. “‘Innovator’, ‘genius’, and, yes, ‘icon.’ The man is definitely ...
    Read More
  • New Michael Godard Sale Features More Than 30 Unique Works

    As the “Rock Star of the Art World,” Michael Godard borrows a page from his musical counterparts by searching for new and innovative ways to express himself.“I’ve always admired ...
    Read More
  • Saving Lady Liberty: How Peter Max Helped Restore the Statue of Liberty

    Iconic Pop artist Peter Max has several recurring images that he’s returned to throughout his prolific career, but perhaps none are more famous than the Statue of Liberty. Max ...
    Read More