An exceptional exhibit of serigraphs, gouaches, and bronze miniature statues by Russian artist, Romain de Tirtoff (commonly known as Erté), is currently on display at New York City’s Martin Lawrence Gallery, located at 457 West Broadway. The retrospective, sponsored by French maison de Champagne, Centre Vinicole – Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, commemorates the 120th anniversary of Erté (23 November 1892 – 21 April 1990).
Born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, de Tirtoff relocated to Paris at the age of 20 to launch a career as an illustrator and designer. (It was then that the artist changed his name to Erté to obscure his creative pursuits from his traditional and prominent family.) Over the next quarter-century, Erté would develop into one of the most eminent artists of his time, working as a much sought-after illustrator, graphic artist, as well as a set, fashion, costume, and jewelry designer. He collaborated with French couturier Paul Poiret, Radio City Music Hall, the Paris Opera, the motion picture industry, Folies Bergère, and Harper’s Bazaar. Later on in life, at age 75, Erté revamped his career by recreating his famous bronze and serigraphy works. This resulted in somewhat of a revitalization of Art Deco, even inspiring the collections of fashion icons Oscar de la Renta and Yves Saint Laurent.
The Martin Lawrence Gallery investigates and celebrates Erté’s expansive career, with this first-time collection of oeuvres. The show also presents Charlotte Perman’s Erté: A Celebration, a recently published book, which includes essays and reflections on the artist from Barbara Streisand, model Twiggy, and designer Stella McCartney.
The exposition’s vernissage took place 10 November at the gallery, where Erté enthusiasts happily noshed on gourmet canapés and sipped adorable mini-bouteilles of Nicolas Feuillatte.
Most memorable from the event, was the début of a breathtaking Erté-inspired objet d’art, “The Clasp,” created by Stefano Canturi. “The Clasp,” is a dazzling piece composed of 540 grams of 18k yellow gold and embellished with 3ct Rubies, nearly 4,000 43ct Diamonds, 200ct Rubellites, 6.5ct Black Sapphires, and 3mm Pearls. It replicates a handbag the designer-artist once made for George White’s 1926 production of Scandals. “The Clasp” can be yours for $780,000.
The spectacular exhibition itself, especially with this deluxe pièce de résistance present, should surely not be missed.