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Arabian Nights


bronze sculpture

Image Size: 23 x 10 x 6"

Erté' signature stamp


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About the Work
About the Artist

About the Work

In 1919, Erté began work with the greatest French music-hall star of her day, Gaby Deslys. It was for Ms. Deslys' appearance in the production of "Les Rois des Legendes" that Erté created the complex, exotic costume design that inspired "Arabian Nights". Like many of the fabulous theatrical costumes that Erté created in the '20s, the design for Ms. Oeslys was heavily influenced by Erté’s fascination with Eastern culture.

This dramatic bronze uses both white and 22K yellow gold throughout the harem trousers. Placed around her neck is a flowing scarf in black and grey, each end delicately detailed with embellishments. The sculpture's base is adorned with elaborate details of blue-green poly­ chrome glazing and rimmed with a spectacular red and white patina.

The stylization of the bronze is distinctly eastern. The sculpture's design was originally found in the graphics "Balinese". In both the serigraph and bronze sculpture, the drama unfolds as the figure seems to dance from her pedestal. She is caught, her arms extended, her fan outstretched, her garment flowing. Witnessed through the wonder of this sculpture's beauty, Erté’s genius unfolds through the use of rich detail and dramatic color."

About the Artist

Erté was born Romain de Tirtoff in St. Petersburg, Russia on November 23rd, 1892 and was raised amidst Russia's social elite. At the age of five he created an evening gown for his mother and managed to persuade the adults to craft it, they were astounded by the results. In 1912, Romain left St. Petersburg for Paris at the age of nineteen with the aim of becoming an artist. After working with Paul " Le Magnifique" Poiret on several theatrical productions Romain, still under the pseudonym of Erte, began to work more independently. He hand-crafted original costume and fashion designs for many of the era’s most renowned actresses, including Joan Crawford, Lillian Gish, Marion Davies, Anna Pavlova, Norma Shearer, and others. His masterpieces for the stage included extravagant production designs at venues such as New York’s Radio City Music Hall, the Casino de Paris, and the Paris Opera. In 1915 he began his long professional relationship with Harper's Bazaar and created 240 covers for the esteemed magazine. For 6 months in 1916, Erté simultaneously worked with Vogue as well. As a result of his highly publicized success, Erté would later be called the father of the ‘Art Deco’ movement.