Sunday, April 11, 2010


One of my favorite illustrators and designers of all time has to be the Russian-born French artist, Romain de Tirtoff (1892 - 1990), known by the pseudonym Erté (the French pronunciation of his initials, R.T.).

I have a slight obsession with Art Deco; the elegant lines, sophisticated figures, and glamorous fashions make me giddy as a school girl. And since Erté is considered the "father" of Art Deco, widely known for his stylized designs of sinuous women draped in beads and furs, it only makes sense that he would be my favorite. :)

Born into an aristocratic family in St. Petersburg, Erté was attracted to the theater and at one point wavered between becoming a dancer or an artist, but eventually, he later recalled, ''I came to the conclusion that I could live without dancing but could not give up my passion for painting and design.'' Being a dancer myself I can't help but think that he missed out on an exhilarating mode of expression, but we can all be grateful that he continued developing his great talent.

In 1912 he moved to Paris and collaborated briefly with the the fashion designer Paul Poiret (another one of my favorites). Throughout his diverse career he created hundreds of covers for Harper's Bazaar Magazine, as well as an array of stage costumes, sets, jewelry, and other fashionable apparel.

I love his blend of delicately fluid, feminine lines with contrasting palettes and geometric patterns. Widely popular in the 1920's and 30's, his style still influences the fashion and decor of today.



  1. This is absolutely gorgeous, inspiring and lively! Thank you for writing this article.

  2. Can you tell me the name and year of the sitting woman in black (5th image from the bottom)? I have this serigraph and would like to find out more about it.