About the WorkWhether the draping of a silk gown worn by an opera diva, or the sparkle of an intricately beaded headdress worn by a woman of society, Erté had an exceptionally acute visual memory of every detail of his early design creations. It is no wonder then, that his fashion designs were so adeptly applied to the sculpture format in the 1980s.
In this stunning limited edition bronze release, "Mermaid", we are provided with a fine example of how Erté carried the technical possibilities of the sculpture medium to a new level. and how his attention to detail added to his legend as one of the Twentieth Century's foremost artist-designers.
Through "Mermaid", Erté takes us beyond the female form by choosing the intriguing legendary sea creature whose upper body is that of a woman, and whose lower body is that of an aquatic creature. In quintessential Erté style, the mermaid is captured in a dramatic pose, her arms stretched towards the heavens. Her hair, in yellow gold leaf, cascades behind her in an intricate pattern of waves, much like the undulations of the waters from which she has risen.
Striving to enhance his works in every conceivable way, Erté utilized both white and yellow gold leaf on the woman's lower body. In the mermaid's hand, he places a polished gold oyster shell along with a pearl adornment to enhance the splendor of the bronze. In both her pose and embellishments, the element of drama and sensuality abound.
Cleverly perching this beautiful sea creature on a gold seashell, and then atop a polished crystal base, Erté has created an exceptional presentation for his stunning creation of this mythic figure.
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.