About the WorkThe inspiration for the long awaited sculpture, "Radiance", appropriately originates from a 1923 Ziegfeld Follies production entitled “L’Or” (“Gold”). Though the use of 16K gold leaf in Erté sculpture is common, rarely did he employ such an extensive use of this precious metal and what an effect it creates!
Erté renders Radiance in statuesque perfection. With a regal stance atop a two-tier black pedestal, the figure's gown is fashioned of extensive French pale-gold leafing that highlights the sculpture's rich details and accentuates all of the brilliance of the Erté design. The flowing garment is captured by outstretched arms as it drapes and flows toward the ground, and is completed by teardrop-shaped pearls at the ends. Polished gold accents adorn her gown like sparkling jewels, and faceted silver beaded chains attach her regal headdress, and it cascades like droplets of silver onto her chest.
Originally created as the gouache, "Le Luxe", in 1923, this elaborate costume design became the focal point of Ziegfeld's stage production and was included in The Metropolitan Museum of Art's permanent collection in 1967. The image was seen again in 1987 as part of highly successful serigraph suite, The Celestial Virtues. Now, as the final sculpture of the 12 piece Glamour in Bronze Collection, we are proud to release Radiance in its entire splendor. Radiance appears on page 157 of the book Erte - The Last Works.
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.