Romain de Tirtoff, dit Erté (1892-1990)
Roman Petrovitch de Tyrtov or Romain de Tirtoff is known as ERTE. Born in an aristocratic family in St. Petersburg, he did not follow the career path that was laid out for him and, rather than becoming a naval officer, he became the complete emblematic artist of the Art Deco movement that we know today. A talented designer, he was also a sculptor, a furniture designer, a costume designer, a creator of accessories, jewellery and decorative arts and above all an illustrator.
After arriving in Paris in 1912, he began working for Paul Poiret as a draughtsman the following year and then signed an exclusive contract with Harper's Bazaar New York magazine, with which he collaborated from 1915 onwards and for which he signed more than 240 covers.A veritable compendium for fashion, all his illustrations are signed by his silhouettes of women-lianas and the elegant preciosity of his drawing, offering in the slightest detail finery and clothing as exuberant as the luxurious evenings of the "Années folles". He also designed sets and costumes for Parisian shows at the Folies Bergères, the Moulin Rouge and the Casino de Paris, as well as for Broadway and Hollywood shows. He also worked with the choreographer and dancer Roland Petit and Zizi Jeanmaire. His style is strongly influenced by Persian art and Diaghilev's Russian ballets.
His inventiveness led him to create furniture models and, although only one game table was published during his lifetime by the marker Georges Vriz, the Rinck and de Groote-Mussi workshops took over his original designs after his death and, with the help of Erté's confidant, Serge Leeman, published various pedestal tables and game tables. The sale "Les Erté de la collection Erté" on 25 March 2021 was an opportunity to discover the wealth of his personal collection of drawings, several of which are now part of museum collections.