Raised amidst Russia's social elite in St Petersburg, Erté's career began in 1915 when he commenced work with the style bible Harper's Bazaar. This partnership would extend to the creation of over 240 covers for the prestigious magazine.
Erté's talents were vast and he flourished in a wide array of fields including fashion, jewellery, costume design and interior decor. He worked throughout his long life and contributed an enormous body of work to the 20th century art world. His work during the 'Art Deco' era was pivotal in creating the art movement that grew around this period.
Erté's career saw him design original and elaborate costumes for many of the Art Deco era's screen goddesses including Joan Crawford, Lillian Gish, Marion Davies, Anna Pavlova and Norma Shearer to name a few. In addition, he created luxurious costumes for various stage productions in New York and Paris. His gloriously extravagant costumes and stage sets for the Folies-Bergre in Paris and George Whites Scandals in New York embraced his love of the exotic and romantic.
During the 1960s, after a short period of relative of obscurity, Erté produced a series of lithographic prints and sculptures. Later, whilst in his mid 70s, Erté was encouraged to recreate his beautiful designs in bronze and serigraphy.
His mastery can be found in many prominent museums including in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Want to learn more about Erté?
"My work has been my mother, my wife, my friend, my mistress and my children …" – Erté