Erté, whose original name was Romain de Tirtoff, was a brilliant Russian-French artist and designer who epitomized the concept of Art Deco in the early years of the 20th Century. As a young boy in Russia he was fascinated by Persian miniatures. These exotic, brightly patterned designs influenced the development of his style. He moved to Paris at the age of eighteen and took the name Erté, from the French pronunciation of his initials, R and T.
From a very early age he was interested in dance, drama, movement and theater. He created delicate figures, glamorous costumes and sophisticated fashion designs that are instantly recognizable. His costumes were worn by Anna Pavlova and Sarah Bernhardt and he produced work for the "Russian Seasons" Diaghilev.
Erté believed that the duty of every person was to make themselves as attractive as possible. He said that although not many of us are born beautiful, clothes can turn a man into the embodiment of beauty or ugliness.
Erté is also 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. These venues exploit to the full his taste for the exotic and romantic, and his appreciation of the delicate and sinuous human figure.
In the 1920s, Art Deco flourished internationally and the world grew aware of its eclectic style characterized by strong lines and patterns, highly defined shapes and blocks of solid colors. Erté's ideas and art still influence fashion into the 21st century.
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