Erté (Romain de Tirtoff [1892-1990]) declined to go along with the urging of his father, an admiral of the Russian fleet, to take up a military career; but, notwithstanding, his was an endeavor as a navigator and warrior, of a different kind.
Coming to Paris at the outset of the twentieth century, he was inspired by the avant garde manoeuvres all around him And, you know, although he turned his back on the navy, his work—in not only graphic design but also fashion design, stage and film design and jewellery design—shows a great instinct for profitable sailing. The hallmark of his inventions was sleekness that evokes kinetic dazzlement and uncanny passion.
Our graphic shown above—one of more than two hundred covers for the fashion and early hipster publication, Harper’s Bazar—portrays a figure immersed in molten materiality, capable of transforming into a starry notable.

A second gem for Harper’s Bazar, and a veritable icon of art deco streamline, mystery and danger.

The mystery and danger of Claude Debussy’s opera, Pelleas et Melisande, evoked on the pages of a 1933 edition of the great Paris magazine, L’Illustration. I love the incisive and playful page layout—pure deco wit and energy!

Erté dealing with a Russian subject, and taming its characteristic heft with some Parisian lift.

Here the scarlet curtains and the tendrils of musical notes wafting from the lyre anchor the melodramatic centerpiece of the stars emoting in an old-fashioned way.

Erté  had a long-standing involvement in Paris music hall decor, costume and promotion.

A thrilling beach missile, startling in its logic linking finite sensuality to cosmic energies!
Soldiering on amidst many detractors, Erté’s was a career never allowing petty jealousies to enervate his muse.

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