Artist of the moment……Romain de Tirtoff…..ERTE…


The artist was perhaps the best known designer of costumes and jewelry of the art deco movement. He also designed movie sets and did  a large number of art works in gouache and  prints.
He was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in the year 1892.  His given name was Romain de Tirtoff. He became known as RT for the french pronounciation of the first letters of his first and last names. He came from a very well off family that was able to trace its roots back to 1548.

His father wanted him to go onto the navy, but this didn’t please the artist. He moved to Paris, went by the name Erte so as not to embarrass the family, and became an artist working under Paul Poiret. Less than two years later he signed on with Harpers Bazaar. A sort of entertainment weekly magazine celebrating the hottest fashions and styles in the world. Over a twenty two year period he produced more than 200 cover illustrations for the magazine.


Erte was also helped by designing sets for the fantastic dancer of the era, Gaby Deslys. She was French but eventually made her way to the United States and to silent movies. She was immensly popular worldwide, the Madonna or Lady Gaga of the time period, but she died from influenza complications at the age of 38.


In 1925 the artist was taken to Hollywood to help with set designs for a silent movie called Paris. Many problems happened on locations so Erte was given other assignments to keep him busy. He went on to set design for movies such as Ben Hur, The Mystic,  and the Comedian.


Included in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I enjoy this artist for his many mediums he used. He was able to help launch his style of art deco, and then help relaunch it when it came back en vogue in the 1960s. He was not only a great artist, but a great businessman making a prolific amount of prints.


Low price range: Easy to find a lithograph print of Erte for a few hundred dollars.

High price range: Gouache pieces up to $20,000. Bronzes can be found for a couple thousand dollars.


The artist was very prolific so it won’t be hard to locate one his works!



The artist was not only lived a very long life, dying at the age of 97, but he was also very prolific. This clip shows some of his many prints and some of his bronze sculptures as well.  Very informative for the viewer.


How cool the internet is! I was able to find some footage of a birthday party for the artist celebrating the big 97 years old. The celebration was given in Paris, France by Kport gallery.

Another short montage of the artist’s work. If you didn’t have time to watch the more than 1o minute clip, this is a great substitute.


Erte died in 1990 at the age of 97.




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