Erté (Romain de Tirtoff)

Erté (Romain de Tirtoff)

Nationality: Russian/French

Erte is an artist best remembered for the extravagance of his costumes and the glorious brashness of his stage sets. The Russian-born son of an Imperial Fleet admiral, Erte became a prominent artist whose designs influenced the worlds of theatre, film, and fashion. He spent his youth among Russia's social elite, but defied his father's plans to have his son become a naval officer by moving to Paris at the age of 18. It was there that he changed his name to Erte, taken from the French pronunciation of his initials (Romain de Tirtoff). His designs for the covers - a total of 240 - for Harper's Bazaar magazine as well as costumes and sets for the theatre world brought him recognition as one of the most influential artists of the 1920s. Erte's illustrations also appeared in such publications as Cosmopolitan and Vogue.

Erte was recognized not only for his artistic works but for influencing an entire art movement known as Art Deco. According to Erte, Art Deco was a "confluence of Cubism and Art Nouveau." He created original costume designs for such renowned actresses as Joan Crawford and Lillian Gish. His stage designs enhanced productions for New York's Radio City Music Hall and the Folies-Bergere in Paris.

In 1925, Erte was called to Hollywood by Louis B. Mayer to design costumes and sets. He worked on such films as Ben Hur. Erte continued to work throughout his long life, contributing his designs to such productions as operas, revues, and ballets. He also created designs for the cognac called Courvoisier. In 2008, the last remaining bottles designed by the artist sold for $10,000 each.

Erte died in 1990 at the age of 97. After a relatively quiet period during the 1940s and 1950s, he produced a colorful series of lithographs and sculpture. His works are part of many museum collections such as those in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. From all his work, his best-known image is surely Symphony in Black, which shows a slender, tall woman wearing black and holding a tiny black dog on a leash.


Erté (Romain de Tirtoff) Original Art Values Sold at Auction

Item Realized
Erté (Romain de Tirtoff) (Russian/French, 1892-1990) Group of Costume Designs (six works) Gouache on paper, each...
Erté (Romain de Tirtoff) (Russian/French, 1892-1990)Group of Costume Designs (six works)Gouache on paper, each7 x ... (Total: 6 Items)
Lot 63549
Auction 5225
Sunday, September 13, 2015
Erté (Romain de Tirtoff) (Russian/French, 1892-1990) Love and Passion Suite: The Marriage Dance & Kiss of...
Erté (Romain de Tirtoff) (Russian/French, 1892-1990)Love and Passion Suite: The Marriage Dance & Kiss of Fire (two wor... (Total: 2 Items)
Lot 61558
Auction 5285
Monday, June 12, 2017
An Erté Cold Painted Bronze Sculpture: Cornucopia, circa 1991 Marks: (artist's cipher), c 1991, CHALK & V...
An Erté Cold Painted Bronze Sculpture: Cornucopia, circa 1991Marks: (artist's cipher), c 1991, CHALK & VERMILLION AND SE...
Lot 63348
Auction 5260
Monday, June 27, 2016
Erté (Romain de Tirtoff) (Russian/French, 1892-1990) La Cleopatra, costume design for Les Filles, circa 1926 Goua...
Erté (Romain de Tirtoff) (Russian/French, 1892-1990)La Cleopatra, costume design for Les Filles, circa 1926Gouache o...
Lot 61299
Auction 5337
Sunday, December 10, 2017
Erte Cold Painted Bronze Sculpture: The Wedding Circa 1986. Stamped along base (artist's cipher), FINE ART ACQUISIT
Erte Cold Painted Bronze Sculpture: The WeddingCirca 1986. Stamped along base (artist's cipher), FINE ART ACQUISIT...
Lot 79229
Auction 5332
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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PLEASE NOTE: All prices realized reflect the final hammer price PLUS the buyer's premium in auctions that charge a buyer's premium. Each item has a notation at the top of the listing indicating whether that lot included a buyer's premium. All information listed is intended to be as accurate as possible, but errors are possible. Please use this guide carefully and inform us of any inaccuracies.

Buy Erté (Romain de Tirtoff)

ItemCurrent Bid or Price
Erté (Romain de Tirtoff) (1892-1990) Melisande, from At the Theater Suite, 1983 Screenprint in colors on Arches p...
Erté (Romain de Tirtoff) (1892-1990)Melisande, from At the Theater Suite, 1983Screenprint in colors on Arches pa...
Lot 11048
Auction 191805
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
ERTÉ (ROMAIN DE TIRTOFF) (Russian/French, 1892-1990) Letter Z, from the Alphabet Suite, 1976 Screenprint in color...
ERTÉ (ROMAIN DE TIRTOFF) (Russian/French, 1892-1990)Letter Z, from the Alphabet Suite, 1976Screenprint in colors19-3/4 x 13-3/4 inches (50.2 x 34.9 cm) (si
Lot 66070
Auction 5189
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Erté (Romain de Tirtoff) (Russian/French, 1892-1990) Mystery of the Courtesan Embossed screenprint with foil stam...
Erté (Romain de Tirtoff) (Russian/French, 1892-1990)Mystery of the CourtesanEmbossed screenprint with foil stamping24-1/2 x 29 inches (62.2 x 73.7 cm) (sight)Ed.
Lot 63316
Auction 5260
Monday, June 27, 2016
Erté (Romain de Tirtoff) (Russian/French, 1892-1990) Harmony, 1986 Embossed screenprint with foil stamping 33 x 2...
Erté (Romain de Tirtoff) (Russian/French, 1892-1990)Harmony, 1986Embossed screenprint with foil stamping33 x 22 inches (83.8 x 55.9 cm) (sight)Ed. 1/300Signed
Lot 63312
Auction 5260
Monday, June 27, 2016

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