Roman Tyrtov (also known as Romain de Tirtoff) was born on November 23, 1892 in St. Petersburg, Russia. His father was a military man who naturally believed that his son should follow in his father's footsteps; however young Roman had a slightly different destiny to pursue. At the age of 5 he designed a dress for his mother and this would be the beginning of a long career in the world of fashion.
Roman moved to Paris at 14 and enrolled at the Academie Julien to pursue fashion and stage design. At this time he also changed his name to Erte which was the French phonetic pronunciation of his initials. In 1913, he landed his first job with the leading French designer, Paul Poiret. His design style was heavily influenced by the elaborate and glamorous costumes and sets of the Parisian Music Halls and this would become his signature 'look'.
His fashion illustrations graced the covers of Vogue, Cosmopolitan and most notably, Harper's Bazaar for which he produced over 200 covers and other artwork. His illustrations ooze sophistication and glamour and are synonymous with the Art Deco aesthetic - streamlined, geometric, highly stylized, boldly coloured and ultra-cool.
During this 'renaissance' period (which lasted right until his death in 1990), he created visually stunning fashion serigraphs and bronze sculptures - all in the traditional Art Deco style. His 1982 serigraph, "Symphony in Black", is instantly recognizable and visually captures the essence of Art Deco style.
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