The godfather of Art Deco

This art exhibition on the genius of Erte´ is one you simply cannot miss! So, who exactly is Erte´ and why is he considered one of the most important artists in the world? Romain de Tirtoff (aka Erte´) is the godfather of Art Deco and one of the 20th century’s most influential artists and designers – be it in fashion, theatre or even the movies. He regularly produced magazine covers including that of Harper’s Bazaar and three examples of his covers were actually beamed onto the Empire State Building in New York.

His process was unique in that he would produce his art work from his “mind’s eye”, not sketches or preliminary drawings (like most artists); he would visualise his whole creation and then paint. He was still painting in his nineties and produced 100 new designs for a Glyndebourne opera production and around 22,000 designs in his entire career.

His Alphabet Suite (1927-1967) which earlier exhibited at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg is now on show at the Grosvenor Gallery in Mayfair, where each letter of the alphabet is the human form beautifully reproduced. The whole set is a masterpiece and was a sensation in London in 1967 when it was exhibited. The art critic John Russell was said to have remarked, “If Michelangelo came back to earth, he wouldn’t have had more publicity.”

Of course there was no better way to see this stunning exhibition than in its natural home and in the very gallery that these works originated from – The Grosvenor Gallery. Eric and Salome Estorick founded the Gallery in 1960 and it is their private collection that is being exhibited currently. They were friends with Erte´ for some 50 years.

All the works are for sale and quite surprisingly, affordable too (with the exception of the Alphabet Suite) starting from £750. This show is definitely one to catch as it shows the depth and magnitude of this important artist’s career that has not been visible for decades.

(Erte´: A Celebration, Grosvenor Gallery, 35 Bury Street, London; On till 30th November 2017)

By Diane Bilimoria, London

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