A fabulous 20th Century Art Deco bronze figural group entitled ‘Prisoner of Love’ by Erté, Romain de Tirtoff – modelled as a beautiful young woman in long stockings chained to a classical column overlooked by a kneeling figure of cupid with bow and arrow, raised on integral oval plinth with classical frieze. Signed Erté, dated 1980, stamped with Meisner foundry mark and numbered 61/250
– Prisoner of Love –
“This sculpture, inspired by the design of the letter K of my alphabet series, was at first considered too erotic, but it has proven very successful. It represents a woman in ecstasy, chained to a column on top of which is a statue of Cupid. Her hair has the appearance of flames of passion. Her lace gloves and stockings are all that remain of her clothes. In one way or another, we are all prisoners of love. The woman’s chain symbolises both her captivity and the excitement of being bound to someone or something we love dearly.”
The above excerpt is a descriptive narrative written by the artist in his book ‘Erté Sculpture’.
Provenance: Recently acquired from a private estate in the Midlands, originally purchased from the Dyansen Gallery of San Francisco
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Height: 39 cm
Width: 32 cm
Condition: Excellent Original Condition
Foundry: Joel Meisner
Book Ref: Erte Sculpture by Romain de Tirtoff – Erté
Page no. 130
Erté Prisoner of Love
Erté Prisoner of Love – Sculpture as such has been a rather late arrival in Erté’s life, but his three-dimensional creativity began long before he started to work with Paul Poiret in Paris in 1913. It began at his house in St. Petersburg in 1897, when he was five years of age and created a little theatre using his mothers empty perfume bottles, which he filled with different coloured waters. These were his players, whose costumes he created by adorning them with bits of lace and gauze he found in the sewing room. Some months later, he began his career in fashion by designing a gown for his mother.
Erté: Process of producing a bronze
First, the artist models the sculpture in clay. A plaster mold of the model is made, from which a plaster cast is produced and the details are refined. After the plaster cast has been carefully checked to be sure that it is accurate, and final changes have been made, a flexible rubber mold is made from the plaster. This mold enables every detail to be captured. Molten wax is poured into the rubber mold, producing a faithful wax casting of the sculpture. This casting is then checked for detail and cleaned up, following which the wax cast is dipped into a bath of liquid ceramic to produce another mold. After several days, when the ceramic mold is dry, it is heated to melt the wax, which runs out through openings in the mold, leaving a cavity in its place (Hence the term lost wax). The mold is then fired in a kiln to bake the ceramic to a high degree of hardness. The final casting made by pour molten bronze into the cavity. When the bronze has cooled, the ceramic mould is carefully broken away, revealing the bronze sculpture within. Then the piece is sandblasted and chased to clean it up and removed imperfections. Finally, the sculpture is treated with chemicals and heat to achieve the desired patinas.
“In fashion- creating forms for living people-in the design of furniture, in the design of theatrical settings and costumes, in the design of jewellery, one is functioning in three dimensions, and all this work in the round can be considered sculptural. In this sense, my theatrical settings are large environmental sculptures. I have never made a drawing for a dress or a costume without first having a fully developed idea of it in the round. In fact, before I start a design every detail has to be ripe in my mind, and I execute it without any deviation,because the conception has become a living reality deep in my creative psyche. When I design an evening dress, for example, I assemble a woman in full costume inside my head, swirling in her gown, showing every fold, seam and hem.”
Erté’s take on Prisoner of Love
Erté Prisoner of love – This sculpture, inspired by the design of the letter K of my alphabet, was at first considered too erotic, but it has proven very successful. It represents a woman in ecstasy, chained to a column on top of which is a statue of Cupid. Her hair has the appearance of flames of passion. Her lace gloves and stockings are all that remain of her clothes. In one way or another, we are all prisoners of love. The woman’s chain symbolises both her captivity and the excitement of being bound to someone or something we love dearly.
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