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Erte – An iconic Painter and Sculpture

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					                      Erte – An iconic Painter and Sculpture


                                        Art Scholars and collectors both love to argue about
                                       what artists were the most influential of the twentieth
                                       century. Strong cases have been made for many of
                                       the obvious candidates of course: Pablo Picasso, Andy
                                       Warhol, Roy Lichtenschtein, Salvador Dali, and many
                                       others. While this is a great company, let us make a
                                       case for a less obvious choice: Romain de Tirtoff, or
                                       more commonly known as Erte. Erte paintings and
                                       sculptures are some of the most iconic in the world
                                       today. But beyond the artist’s popularity, he has
                                       influenced nearly every aspect of popular culture both
                                       by defining a generation through his aesthetic while
                                       remaining popular today.

                                          Erte lived from 1892 to 1990 and made an enormous
                                          impact on the global art scene during almost the
                                          entire duration of his life. He first came onto the
scene notably in 1910 when he moved to Paris to become a designer. In 1915, he signed a
contracted with the famous Harper’s Bazaar magazine where he would go on to paint over
200 covers. During the same time and into the 1920s and 30s he designed numerous
costumes for actresses and opera stars. This original artwork has a direct impact on the
aesthetic of the time since ordinary women wanted to emulate the fashions seen on famous
celebrities of the time. Erte’s covers and costumes also gained him much notoriety because of
their unique style. Many people were fashion designers at the time, but Erte’s style was
unique to him. It seemed to capture the essence of the generation and be in line with what
they thought was beautiful and fashion forward. Erte is considered the father of the Art Deco
movement.

The Art Deco aesthetic created by Erte’s original art would not only be influential in the art
and fashion world- it would go on to define the entire generation. His point of view would go
on to influence popular culture, architecture, cinema, books, and plays. While one can make a
case for any number of twentieth century artists having immense influence over the art
world, they are hard pressed to find someone with as much influence over society at large at
Erte’s defining role in creating the Art Deco movement.

Many artists have made an impact on popular culture only to fall into the background once a
new Avant Guard idea took over in art and society. Since artists and art collectors pride
themselves on being on the cutting edge of what’s new it is hard for any individual artist to
hold the heart of the community for long. In the 1940s and 1950s, the Art Deco aesthetic
faded into the background and began be replaced with how new artistic expressions. Just at
the mid-century modern aesthetic would go on to define the 1950s; Art Deco could have
easily faded into the background only to become synonymous with the 1920s and 30s without
much social relevance past its period based identity. But that was not the case for the Art
Deco movement, or for Erte. They both proved their resilience and widespread public
appreciation during the Art Deco resurgence of the 1960s. This period allowed the artist to
experience a second period of immense popularity. Erte’s resurgence lasted until his death in
1990. In the later portion of his career, Erte bronze sculptures and Erte paintings became his
most popular mediums. Today, Erte sculptures and paintings remain more popular than ever.
The Art Deco movement created by Erte has seemingly done the possible: it has defined an
era of the past while still remaining popular and socially relevant today.

				
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Description: Art Scholars and collectors both love to argue about what artists were the most influential of the twentieth century. Strong cases have been made for many of the obvious candidates of course: Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and other many.