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LIVE 24-SEVEN


He handcrafted original costume and fashion designs for many of the era’s most renowned screen actresses, including Joan Crawford, Lillian Gish, Marion Davies, Anna Pavlova, Norma Shearer and others. His masterpieces for the stage included extravagant production designs at venues such as New York’s Radio City Music Hall, the Casino de Paris and the Paris Opera, as well as for the Folies-Bergères and George White’s Scandals.


In 1915 he began his long professional relationship with Harper's Bazaar, starting with the January issue. From then on, every month for the next 20 years, the magazine included a coloured illustration by Erté and in total he created 240 covers for the esteemed magazine. For six months in 1916 Erté simultaneously worked with Vogue as well, but the owner of Harper’s Bazaar, the media magnate William Randolph Hearst, offered the artist an exclusive long-term contract that was | impossible to refuse. In all, around 2,000 of Erté’ s delicate pen and ink compositions created the particularly recognisable style of Harper’s Bazaar in the 1920s and ‘30s. They made Erté famous and highly sought-after in America and his audience permanently expanded across the Atlantic.


His fashion designs also appeared in many other publications, making him one of the most widely recognised artists of the 1920s. According to his personal calculations, he created in all more than 17,000 works and because of his highly-publicised success Erté would later be called the father of the ‘Art Deco’ movement.


Erté is also well-remembered for the gloriously extravagant costumes and stage sets that he designed for the Folies- Bergères in Paris and George White's Scandals in New York. He also had a brief, and not wholly satisfactory, stint working in Hollywood in 1925, at the invitation of Louis B. Mayer, head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He found the environment unpleasing, stressful and underappreciated, having to consistently redo costumes at a moment notice.


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 a renewed demand by creating a series of colourful lithographic prints and sculptures.


At the age of 75, Erté was encouraged to embark on a new career and began to recreate the remarkable designs of his youth in bronze and serigraphy. The ‘Art Deco’ movement was hence reborn. In 1976, the French government awarded Erté the title of Officer of Arts and Letters and in 1982, the Medaille de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris was bestowed upon him. A lifetime of international success and recognition has ensured this unique artist's place in the chronicles of art history. Today, some of his original designs still grace the permanent collections of prestigious museums throughout the world, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institution and London’s Victoria & Albert Museum.


The great Erté – Romain Petrovich de Tirtoff – died in April 1990 at the age of 97 in Paris.


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BUYERS GUIDE ER T É – ROMAIN PE TROVICH DE T IR TOF F


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