Beginning December 1, we’ll will be showcasing the paintings, limited edition prints and bronze sculpture of the world-renowned artist Erté. The month-long holiday celebration and exhibition will be on view for the entire month of December in all nine MLG gallery locations. Select galleries will be hosting seasonal events honoring the artist. More holiday event details here: UPCOMING EVENTS
“You look at his art and you know that it’s his. I appreciate originality and things that have stood the test of time.” —Barbara Streisand
Erté—whose real name was Romain de Tirtoff (initials “R.T.”)—was born in 1892 in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1910, he moved to Paris to pursue a career as a designer, despite objections from a father who wanted him to become a naval officer. In 1915, he secured his first substantial contract with Harper’s Bazaar magazine, and thus launched an illustrious artistic career that included designing costumes and stage sets. Between 1915-1937, Erté designed over 200 covers for Harper’s Bazaar, and his art would also appear in such publications as Illustrated London News, Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal and Vogue.
Erté, known as ‘the father of Art Deco,’ created fashion designs that captured the period perfectly. His delicate figures and sophisticated, glamorous designs draped renowned screen actresses from Lillian Gish and Marion Davies to Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford. His ideas and art continue to influence fashion today. In 1925, Louis B. Mayer brought him to Hollywood to design sets and costumes for the silent film Paris. He went on to design for such films as Ben-Hur, The Mystic Time, The Comedian, and Dance Madness. Well into his nineties, Erté designed the costumes for the musical Stardust and the costumes for the Rockettes’ Easter Parade at Radio City Music Hall in New York. His stage sets were featured in the Ziegfeld Follies and Folies Bergère.
We began publishing Erté’s limited edition graphics in 1982. The sophisticated printing methods set a standard of excellence that remains an industry standard in serigraph print making. The combination of industrial foil stamping to produce metallic effects and artist-embossed heavy metal plates achieved an artistic level which has never been matched or surpassed.
“Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave.” —Constantin Brancusi
One of the selected works on view is Flapper a serigraph rendering an Art Deco-inspired costume design of a dancer holding a fan with a golden starburst design. This same motif can be seen on the façade of the Chrysler Building in Manhattan. The costume design was created for Manhattan Mary which debuted at the Majestic Theater in 1927. The iconic flapper’s dress is a cobweb of black beads and revealing red silk, accented with a spider motif.
Also on view will be the 1988 sculpture Radiance, which was inspired by Le Luxe, a Ziegfeld Follies gouache created for the production of L’Or in 1923. The original gouache currently resides in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Erté’s sculpture designs often reflect how he’d been fascinated as a young boy by the Persian miniatures he found in his father’s library. These exotic, brightly patterned designs were a lifelong inspiration for Erté, contributing to his paintings and subsequently every sculpture design. One of the most remarkable facts regarding Erté’s sculptural work is that he was seventy-six years old when he began to produce his first bronze artworks – he had already enjoyed decades of international acclaim as a fabulous fashion and theater designer.
Erté’s art can be found in the collections of several well-known museums, including the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). In 2016, MLG contributed to the monumental solo exhibition of Erté’s masterworks at the Hermitage Museum in St, Petersburg, Russia — Erté: An Art Deco Genius, Return to St. Petersburg – which was staged more than a century after he originally left his native Russia.