Few designs are so chic, modern, and cultured as Art Deco. Post WWII; this style encompassed sleek modern technology, multiculturalism (Ancient Egypt, Chinese) and one of the most prolific and arguable greatest artist of this period, who captured the elegance of this era the best. His name was Erte.
Born Roman Petrovich Tyrtov on 23rd November 1892 in St Petersburg, Russia. He moved to Paris aged 15.
His interest in modern art came about when he discovered Aubrey Beardsley in 1907. Since his father was very against his son pursuing a career in art; Tyrtov used the alias of Erte (the French pronunciation of his initials) so not to advertise his family’s name. In 1915 Erte’s big break came when he secured a job working for Harper’s Bazaar Magazine, producing over 200 covers for them. Other publications began showcasing Erte’s work including Cosmopolitan and Vogue magazine. Part of his appeal (especially with the more stylish publications) is his gloriously beautiful depictions of his idealised woman. They are sleek, sophisticated, and effortlessly graceful. Far from being just a talented illustrator, Erte was also designed the costumes for the burgeoning film industry including ‘The Restless Sex’ and ‘Paris’. He also designed sets for the Folies Bergere and the Ziegfeld Follies.
As time progressed, Erte continued to create and design art, be it in revues, operas, ballet or just bronze figures and limited edition prints. In the 1960s Erte enjoyed a renaissance thanks to an Art Deco revival.
On 21st April 1990 Erte died, aged 90. Having spent a life time creating beauty, Erte left a glamorous legacy and thanks to another surge in popularity in Art Deco. His work can be enjoyed by another generation looking for beauty.