Romain ERTE (DE TIRTOFF) 1892 — 1990
Роман ЕРТЕ (ДЕ ТИРТОВ) • Роман ЭРТE (ДE ТЫРТОВ)
Romain de Tirtoff who called himself Erté after the French pronunciation of his initials, was one of the foremost fashion and stage designers of the early twentieth century. Born in St. Petersburg in 1892 to a family with a long and distinguished history as officers in the Russian Royal Navy. In 1910-1912 Romain gradually moved to Paris to pursue a career of a designer, over strong objections of his father. His talents for design were soon recognized and he began working for the world famous Paul Poiret. In 1915 he got his first significant contract with Harper`s Bazaar magazine starting a collaboration which lasted for over 21 years.. The high visibility of the periodical, with its` tremendous circulation and its` wide, cultured audience, gave Erté’s work many years of mainstream exposure and allowed him to develop his personal artistic style. Erté is perhaps most famous for his elegant fashion designs which perfectly capture the art deco period in which he worked. Erté is remembered for the 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. His work on the Ziegfeld Follies, the Folies-Bergère, and shows at the Casino de Paris and the London Palladium is considered some of his best. By far his best known image is `Symphony in Black`, depicting a tall, slender woman draped in black holding a thin black dog. This influential image has been reproduced and copied countless times.Erté also designed for the opera and the traditional theatre, and spent a brief period in Hollywood in 1925, at the invitation of Louis B. Mayer, head of Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer. In the 1960’s Erté embarked on a new direction. He began to recreate many of the remarkable designs of his youth. He did this in several mediums including bronze, jewelry, and serigraphy. He died in Paris in 1990.