About the WorkThe sculpture "Caramelle" was inspired by Erté’s serigraph "Emerald Eyes", created by him in 1985. The artist originally created the image as a drawing to accompany a personal "letter" which he contributed to the September 1920 issue of Harper's Bazaar. This was one of a series of letters which appeared in the magazine from 1919 to 1923 and provided Erté’s reflections on French Riviera life, including fashions, art, and entertainment, as well as occasional notes on events in Paris. "Caramelle" is titled in honor of Erté’s beloved cat, who is portrayed in the sculpture sitting upon one of the artist's Art Deco chair designs.
"Caramelle" features a gracious woman, standing next to an elegant stool on which a black cat rests. The luster of the deep red and black patinas is emphasized by the receding creases which mark the folds of the model's heavy jacket. A polished bronze crest in the shape of an eagle with spread wings dominates the back of the jacket. Polished embellishments in the chair and cushion highlight its plushness and add a sense of suppleness to the sculpture. "Caramelle" is a 18 x 11 x 9 - inch bronze sculpture.
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.