No secret, I am a big fan of the artwork of Romain de Tirtoff, better known as Erté.
I first got to know Erté (that’s how his initials, RT, are pronounced if you’re French) from old Dover Publications graphics and paper doll books. For a measly $3.95 I could immerse myself in his fantastically exaggerated and feminine-centric world.
Erté is sometimes called “the man who invented art deco”, although not very often. He’s best known as a costume designer, illustrator, and cover artist for Harper’s Bazaar.
My late mother developed an expensive lithograph-buying habit. I urged her to spend her dollars on Erté. Our tastes sometimes differed, though. I had to nag her into buying this one (Mélisande):
I am lucky enough to own five of those lithographs, and they make me smile whenever I look at them. Erté’s world is one where every woman is a temptress and no dress is too outrageous. His women are bold and graceful and fully themselves in every way. (He rarely painted men, and when he did, they’re rather androgynous).
Seriously, is there any more potent and thrilling image of a female? I struggle to think of one.
I’ll be posting Ertés whenever there’s nothing on my mind.