About the Work
In the I920s, '30s, '40s and '50s the so-called Cafe Society in Europe drew together aristocrats, millionaires, artists, authors, couturiers, choreographers and musicians in a "glittering world of fashion and frivolity, opulence and ostentation"", notes Thierry Coudert in his book, Cafe Society: Socialites, Patrons and Artists 1920 to 1960. Those decades were the "apotheosis of an era that was to have a profound influence on the history of taste" "Cafe Society created a posthumous image of itself as a golden age, a paradise lost, in which nothing had more point than the pointless, nothing was more profound than the superficial, and elegance and an inimitable art de vivre took precedence over everything."
The ensemble of the Bronze figure was very typical of the time period. The most fashionable silhouette, or shape, for a woman's skirt from 1919 to 1929 was straight and knee length. The skirts of the decade hid women's feminine curves with loose waists and sashes hugging the hips. In Cafe Society, we see a sash hugging the hips, tasseled embellishments and the use of geometric shapes all combined on one dress.
"Cafe Society" is a 10 x 13 x 22 - inch sculpture cast in bronze using the lost wax process.
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.