Erte, or Romain de Tirtoff (Russian / French, 1892 – 1990), was an artist and fashion designer who had immense influence throughout the 20th century. His ideas were fundamental to Art Deco design, and his approach to art and fashion will have a lasting effect on Western society. Born in 1892 in St. Petersburg, Russia, Romain de Tirtoff moved to Paris in 1910 to become a fashion designer. He also began using his pseudonym Erte around this time, as his father, a Russian admiral, was very upset about his life choice. The name “Erte” is the pronunciation in French of his initials, “R.T.”.

Serigraph entitled "Makeup" by Erte
Erte (Romain de Tirtoff), "Makeup". Serigraph (silkscreen) on paper. 1978.

The Fabulous Erte

Erte quickly became renowned the world over for his fashion designs. He designed outfits and costumes for Hollywood royalty like Marion Davies, Carmel Myers, and Renee Adoree, Broadway groups like the Ziegfeld Follies, and such European stars as Mata Hari and Gaby Deslys. While his actual outfits and costumes garnered much critical acclaim, it was his drawings, prints, and sculptures that captured the public’s attention. Erte produced covers for publications like Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and Cosmopolitan. These publications, with their wide reader base, exposed Erte’s art to a monumental audience. This audience adored Erte’s designs, and he became among the most popular designers of his era.

Serigraph entitled "Hindu Princess" by Erte
Erte, "Hindu Princess". Serigraph on paper. Mid to late 20th century.

Erte Serigraphs

Erte’s artwork is influenced by Art Nouveau, with sleek curves and bright colors, but also was a fundamental driver of Art Deco. Rich colors, animal prints, and inspiration from around the globe all define the art of Erte. Nest Egg Auctions has sold a number of Erte serigraphs (or screenprints), all signed by the artist himself. These prints are highly original compositions by Erte, with stylishly dressed women with simplified and exaggerated features. Colors are bright, and fashion is certainly a major aspect of his graphic work. Erte, as a commercial artist, licensed his designs in multiple media, to allow his works to reach the greatest number of fans. In addition, Nest Egg has sold a bronze statue and painted vase designed by Erte, as well as an aquamarine and diamond ring designed by the artist.

Erte, "Con-Ker" bronze vase. 1986.

Selling Erte at Nest Egg Auctions

Nest Egg Auctions sells a great variety of art and design pieces, as well as jewelry and fashion items. Since Erte’s output was so varied, an auction house like ours is perfectly suited to selling his works. We are always excited to sell work by Erte, and we would welcome the opportunity to sell yours. If you have a work by Erte, whether it’s a print, a statue, a dress, or any other item, we would love to see it! Send us a picture, and we can tell you more about your wonderful piece of fashion history.

Sell your Erte Artwork with NEA!

Have a work of art by Erte that you'd like to sell? Nest Egg Auctions would love to sell it for you for the highest price!

Further Reading:

Tate, “Erte (Romain de Tirtoff)”.

IMdB, “Erte”.