Erté

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Erté (Russian, 1892 ~ 1990) Erté was born Romain de Tirtoff in St. Petersburg, Russia. The only son of an admiral in the Imperial Fleet, he was raised amidst Russia’s social elite. As a young boy, he was fascinated by the Persian miniatures he found in his father’s library. These exotic, brightly patterned designs continued to be important to him and influenced the development of his style. He moved to Paris at the age of eighteen and took the name Erté, from the French pronunciation of the initials of his real name Romain de Tirtoff, R and T.
In 1915, Harper’s Bazaar published his first cover design, launching his 22 year career with the magazine. His magazine covers helped to set the style that came to be known as Art Deco. His illustrations not only graced the covers, but filled the pages of the magazine as well. His first assignment was to create costumes for the notorious Mata Hari; later he designed clothes for fashionable society women, movie stars such as Joan Crawford and Norma Shearer, sets for Hollywood films, and sets and costumes for the Follies Bergeres and the Paris Opera.His fashion designs also appeared in many other publications, making him one of the most widely recognized artists of the 1920s.
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. His work is in many prominent museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. In the late sixties, the Metropolitan Museum of Art purchased an entire collection of 179 works from Erté’s exhibition in New York. At age 88, he began his work in bronze sculpture. Erté’s artistic career continued until his death in 1990.



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