About the WorkDuring the 22-year relationship of Erté with Harper's Bizarre, he designed 250 covers and numerous illustrations for its pages. It was here that his distinctive Art Deco style emerged.
The "King's Favorite" was originally created in 1914 as a costume design for Henri Bendel. The richness and design of the gown and the posture of the seated woman suggest the exotic. An elegant silver drape billows down the figure's back and swirls around her raised knee. Resting her tiny hand on a gold tasseled cushion, the King's Favorite balances on an ornate fan-shaped bench fluted with gold.
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.