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North Beach Beach Art & Charity Special Event

Centennial of Art Deco Celebrating the Father of Art Deco, Erté Exhibition at North Beach Art Gallery sponsored by North Beach Art and Charity 501C3  Thursday May 18th from 6-9pm.


In honor of world Art Deco Day we are announcing our premiere showing of the world’s only complete bronze sculpture collection by the Father of Art Deco, Erté. The creative innovation of Erté, attributed as being The Father of Art Deco, is commemorated at North Beach Art Gallery that has over 225 of his original works including the world’s only complete bronze sculpture collection, limited edition serigraphs, and plates, Erté’s bronze sculpture and the well sought-after Courvoisier among other Erté art, all in the art deco style that South Florida enthusiastically embraced. North Beach Art Gallery will be hosting the centennial celebration of Art Deco May 18th from 6-9pm.

Prior to being crowned as the Father of Art Deco, Erté was born Romain de Tirtoff into an esteemed family in St. Petersburg, Russia in November of 1892. He was expected to proceed in the footsteps of a long line of military aristocrats dating back to the 16th century. He was not interested; it was his passion and ambition to create art that inspired him to move to Paris in 1912, much to his father’s dismay. For this reason, that Romain de Tirtoff changed his name using the French pronunciation of his initials to save his family from any shame, thus he went by his pseudo name, Erté.

Having first created art at the age of 3, a fashion illustration at 5 years old that Erté’s mother brought to life that sealed his destiny. Erté at the age of 7 attended Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera; the artistic display of music, drama and its overall visual beauty made an impactful impression on him. This introduction to the cultural life of Saint Petersburg generated a yearning to explore the arts available in the city from performances to exhibitions.

The fashion house Caroline in Paris was his first job however he was rejected after only a month with the advice that he should never draw again. Erté collected his drawings and sent them to one of Paris’ most notable designers, Paul Poiret. He was quickly hired. Erté’s experience with Poiret was short lived, however achieved success in defining his style in designing costumes, fashion, and home décor. His first assignment in theater was for the famed dancer Mata Hari energized his interest working in set design and costume for theater and later in films such as Ben-Hur and La Boheme.

Erté set his sights on the United States because of the war in France.  He began sending drawings to Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Soon thereafter, Harper’s Bazaar contracted him exclusively and a 22-year collaboration began. Erté’s Art was so fascinating that by 1918 his designs were influencing designers across New York more than any other source and is what won him opportunities on Broadway and Hollywood.

Then by 1967, at the age of 75, came the graphic works that further bestowed him notoriety over the international world of arts. Erté’s first exhibition in the United States was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City. They purchased the complete exhibition which was a first for a living artist. He created lithographs, serigraphs, and bronze sculptures. This resurgence of a wider audience led him to reintroduce the world to art deco. He also commenced in a new medium to him, bronze, to recreate his mostly his earlier works.

North Beach Art Gallery is exhibiting a privately held collection of 205 works. This Privately held collection encompasses the worlds only complete bronze sculpture collection, the renowned Numerals and Alphabet suites, medallions, and objects d’ art. The bronze, being the highlight of the collection robustly includes 146 sculptures with an Artist Proof that had no editions cast. Erté was extremely proud of this body of work. Erté said, “An additional gratification that working in bronze gives me comes from the permanence of the medium. I hope that archeologists of the future unearth the artifacts of the twentieth century, one of my bronzes will be uncovered. Even if they won’t know who the artist was, I am pleased to know that my work will remain long after I am gone.”

Erté was truly the pioneer of the Art Deco Movement. His original works grace the permanent collections of prestigious museums around the world including New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institution and London's Victoria & Albert Museum. He was always immersed in the creative process to his last days. At his death aged 98 in 1990, few 20th-century artists could be said to have their work embraced by trends throughout art, fashion, and theatre as Erté had. It is time to celebrate the centennial of Art Deco by recognizing Erté as the Father of this art movement with North Beach Art Gallery with this spectacular private collection.

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