"I started work in the graphic medium rather late in life. I think that graphics is a form
of expression that is very close to my heart because it was the medium with which I made my
reappearance in the broad, international world of art." — Erté
The designs created by Erté during his long and illustrious life influenced not only the
world of theatre, film and fashion, but an entire art movement as well. The genius of the artist
is evidenced by an enormous body of work that is considered among the most influential and unique
of the 20th century. Erté—Romain de Tirtoff—was born in Russia in 1892, and died at age 97 in
1990. His legendary career spanned nearly the entire length of his life. In 1912, Erté moved to
Paris and his unique talent was immediately recognized by the city’s most established couturiers.
In 1915, he began an association with Harper’s Bazaar by designing covers of each of their
magazines for the next 22 years. The influence of his work as a result of the high visibility of
this periodical influenced an entire art movement that was to become known as “Art Deco”.
Throughout this period, the artist also created 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 creations for the stage included extravagent designs
for productions at such venues 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.
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.
A lifetime of international success and recognition has ensured this unique artist's place in the
annals of art history, and his original designs 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.