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Father of Art Deco

An artist for over 80 years who changed not just the art world but forever left an indelible mark on fashion and architecture and American culture. This artist became the main innovator giving new inspirations to a period in history of art known as Art Deco. This new category of fashion, architecture and art was largely crafted by a Russian artist by the name of Romaine de Tirtoff born November 23rd, 1892- April 21st, 1990, best known as simply Erté.

Erté became known in the field of art and fashion as the father of Art Deco. Erté was prolific across a number of different artistic endeavors from fashion designer to set design to an artist of every medium possible (excelling in jewelry, painting and sculpture). Erté whose moniker was from the French pronunciation of his initials("R" for Romain and "T" for Tirtoff to make Erté) started his art career in 1912 in Paris at the young age of 19. He carefully choose his moniker so not to shame his family for the profession of art was a shameful one for the man whose father was an admiral in the military. In spite of his family's intolerance to his chosen career, Erté excelled and was prolific in many artistic endeavors from jewelry to fashion to print to sculpture. In the late 1920s he was under contract with and became the artist of choice for for the cover of a couture fashion magazine called Harper's Bazaar. Erté has over 250 illustrations to his credit alone just for the magazine!

Erté's work spans beyond magazine covers into imaginative and highly detailed bronze statues to prints and fashion. His work is prolific from paintings to sculpture perhaps only because of the length of his career - he was still actively painting and creating past age 95!  His artwork influenced the "roaring twenties" in American culture and abroad.  The influences of Art Deco continue in popularity in American even today.

Erte - Father of Art Deco

Erte Heart with Black and Gold

Erte Heart with Black and Gold

Erte Parisian Cafe

Erte Parisian Cafe Black and White Framed in Gold

Erte Parisian Cafe Black and White Framed in Gold

Erte's Morning Exercise Program - 15 Minutes BEFORE Breakfast

"I get up late in the morning. When I wake up I exercise for fifteen minutes before breakfast. Sometimes I supplement my morning workout with an additional five minutes before dinner. I have never deviated from this routine, even when I am traveling. " www.neonissima.com

Erte Statues

Erte Statue

Erte Statue

Erte Statue in Silver

Erte Statue in Silver

Erte Title:  The Wave

Erte Title: The Wave

Erte 3D StatueTitle:  Sampson and Delilah

Erte 3D StatueTitle: Sampson and Delilah

Art Deco Quote

"Art Deco in France found its American equivalent in the design of the New York skyscrapers of the 1920s. The Chrysler Building ... was one of the most accomplished essays in the style."

John Julius Norwich, in The World Atlas of Architecture

Biography and Background of Erté

Romaine de Tirtoff born November 23rd, 1892- April 21st, 1990, best known as simply Erté.

"He moved to France at age nineteen and worked for a time sketching for Paul Poiret and designing opera and theater costumes. Between 1914 and the 1930s he created many magazine covers for Harper's Bazaar. In the United States he worked for Flo Ziegfeld and designed costumes for the film Ben Hur (1959). Influenced by Indian miniatures, his designs, illustrations, and drawings are sophisticated and highly stylized."

Father of Art Deco - Style Echoed Roaring Twenties

The 1920s is a time often referred to as the "roaring twenties", a time of jubilee denoted by jazz music, flapper dresses and new technology. The automobile, the radio ushered in exuberance. And the favorite fashion and artwork were attributable to the Art Deco style. Art Nouveau peaked around 1905 and the roaring twenties roared until the stock market crash in the United States in October 1929.

Erté himself defined Art Deco "as a fusion of the curvilinear designs of Art Nouveau of the 19th Century with the Cubist, Constructivist, and geometrical designs of modernity."

Erte’s work is housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as well as at the Smithsonian.

Erte’s Longevity and Daily Discipline for Exercise

Erté lived to be 97 years old and continued to work well into his final years. His discipline both in art and in exercise (twenty minutes a day like clockwork) combined with his passion for beauty perhaps explains his longevity. Even in exercise, Erté was an innovator - 20 minutes a day - and what a great way to break it up - 15 minutes in the morning before breakfast and 5 minutes in the evening.

Art Deco Style of Art

Art Deco was primarily a design style attributable to architecture, fashion and print. Art Deco became very popular in the 1920s and 1930s in both the United States and Europe.

Some have related the Art Deco style of art as the follow-up style to the Art Nouveau movement. Art Deco is more streamlined.

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The Art Deco movement permeated all of the United States in everything from fashion, furniture, to jewelry, and even textiles and architecture.

Two artists who are best known for this era - Erte the Father of Art Deco and Rene Lalique a jeweler and glassmaker. The Chrysler building in New York, designed by William Van Alen and complted in 1930 is commonly given as an example of Art Deco style in architecture. It is considered by many architects to be the finest example of architecture in New York City.  Interestingly, Walter Chrysler financed the building himself rather than the car manufacturer, he wanted his children to inherit that building.

Suites of Paintings - Lithographs and Affordable Fine Art

One of the many great things about this master artist is his body work includes lithographs in quantities of 300 or more. This volume allows a lower price tag and thus affords more prints and thus more owner the world over.

Erte in Print

Erte in print - modern lime green with dark background in beautiful ornate frame

Erte in print - modern lime green with dark background in beautiful ornate frame

Erte Print entitled "Kissing"

Erte Print entitled "Kissing"

Erte Print Title:  "Queen of the Nighte"

Erte Print Title: "Queen of the Nighte"

Erte Print Title:  "Onde"

Erte Print Title: "Onde"

Eerte Print of a beautiful woman in a blue dress with her arms displaying the elaborate dress

Eerte Print of a beautiful woman in a blue dress with her arms displaying the elaborate dress

Erté's Quotes

"I have always loved working at night. No one interrupts me. No telephone calls disturb my train of thought. I feel I have unlimited time. One bright lamp (its bluish light helps me to see the true colors) illuminates the drawing on which I am working." www.erte.com

"My mother was extremely beautiful, " wrote Erté in his memoir, "with blue-black hair worn in a smooth chignon which contrasted with her white skin. I shall always remember one night when I was quite young; she had come to my room to give me a goodnight kiss before going to a ball. She wore a dress of black chantilly lace over pink taffeta; around her decolletage was a garland of real roses. Perhaps this was the beginning of my love for all things connected with beautiful clothes and elegance." www.erte.com

Erté himself defined Art Deco "as a fusion of the curvilinear designs of Art Nouveau of the 19th Century with the Cubist, Constructivist, and geometrical designs of modernity."

Erté - The Man - Solitary Animal Similar to a Cat

In a book entitled "Erté at Ninety", there is a glimpse inside to the real man, the genius who called himself Erté.  Erté and Erté would see himself through the design of his un-lite home - a home with no interior lights - and with his two constant companions - his cats.

"The rest of the house is plunged in darkness except for a few dimly lit shells that enable me to leave my worktable if I have to. Everything is Focused on the brightly lit square of my table - a perfect aid to concentration. Even my cats pretend to be sleeping: they know that I am working. Being alone is vitally important for me and my work. I am a solitary person, and this may explain why I have such a great love of cats. Cats and I are very much alike. The cat is a solitary animal, very independent, very quiet by nature. Like Cats who hide themselves away when they are ill, I cannot stand people visiting me when I am indisposed. I want to be left alone." (Excerpt "Erte At Ninety"). www.erte.com

Erte Pictura

Erte Fashion in Theater Print Magazine and Sculpture

Erte Statues - Bronzes

Erté's bronze statues were created in the 1970s yet still are considered a highly valued and much sought after piece of artwork even today - 40 years later!

Fashion in the Theater

Cleopatra bracelets, design for John Crawford and Lillian Gish.

gloriously extravagant costumes and stage sets that he designed for the Folies-Bergère in Paris and George White's Scandals in New York, which exploit to the full his taste for the exotic and romantic, and his appreciation of the sinuous and lyrical human figure.


Erte Magazine Covers - Fashion Harper's Bazaar

If you admire high end couture fashion, you know the preeminent fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar.

Harper's Bazaar was started in 1867 as a weekly magazine for upper middle class and upper class.

Erté's illustrative covers would span over 250 issues with Harper's Bazaar. Another artist who would reach world fame - Andrew Warhola (August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987), known as Andy Warhol, also was an illustrator for this cutting edge fashion magazine.

Erte in Jewelry ala Art to Wear

Erte Jewelry Woman Profile and Gold Hair

Erte Jewelry Woman Profile and Gold Hair

Erte Aphrodite Brooch

Erte Aphrodite Brooch

Erte Art Deco Ring

Erte Art Deco Ring

Erte Pearl Necklace with Art Deco Design

Erte Pearl Necklace with Art Deco Design

Erte (Romain de Tirtoff) "Letter R Pendant / Brooch" Jewelry

Erte (Romain de Tirtoff) "Letter R Pendant / Brooch" Jewelry

Erte Title:  Sophistication 1984 8/9

Erte Title: Sophistication 1984 8/9

Erte Aphrodite Brooch/Necklace