The Hermitage Museum is rightfully counted among the world’s finest, boasting an extensive collection of masterworks from the most renowned artists of the past several centuries. For the first time in its glorious history, the Hermitage curated an exhibition to honor the work of Erté, the father of Art Deco and one of Russia’s most celebrated cultural native sons. Martin Lawrence Galleries is proud to have served as a sponsor of this historical event. MLG is home to an extraordinarily varied and consequential collection of Erté works.
Erté—whose real name was Romain de Tirtoff (initials “R.T.”)—was born in 1892 in St. Petersburg. 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 career that included designing costumes and stage sets. Between 1915–1937, Erté designed over 200 covers for Harper’s Bazaar, and his illustrations would also appear in such publications as Illustrated London News, Cosmopolitan, Ladies’ Home Journal and Vogue.
Elegant Erté fashion designs captured the Art Deco period he founded. His delicate figures and sophisticated, glamorous designs are instantly recognizable, and his ideas and art still influence fashion into the 21st century. In 1925, Louis B. Mayer brought him to Hollywood to design sets and costumes for the silent film Paris. He also designed for such films as Ben-Hur, The Mystic, Time, The Comedian, and Dance Madness. Well into his nineties, he designed the costumes for the musical “Stardust” and the costumes for the Rockettes “Easter Parade” at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
Erté continued working throughout his life and with the 1960s Art Deco revival, he began creating limited edition prints, bronzes, and other fine art. His work 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).
The Hermitage Museum was originally built from 1754-1762, to serve as the Czar’s Winter Palace. In 1764, Catherine II made it Russia’s home of fine art by acquiring a significant collection originally intended for Frederick the Great of Prussia. It has since become one of the world’s most renowned and respected museums and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2014.
More works by this artist