BETWEEN THE LINES: This summer the late Roman Tyrtov, the artist simply known as “Erté,” will be the focus of a solo show at the Hermitage Museum — more than a century after he left his native Russia.
In line with that occasion, the Martin Lawrence Gallery in New York will unveil its own exhibition of his work to coincide with the June 22 opening overseas. The downtown space will have on view original paintings, limited-edition prints and bronze sculptures. The gallery represents Erté and is a sponsor of the Hermitage exhibition. Working in such disciplines as fashion design, costumes illustration and sculpture, the artist was a champion in the Art Deco movement. Attendees at Wednesday night’s preview will receive a copy of the 2011 book, “Erté: A Celebration,” that feature text from Stella McCartney and Barbra Streisand.
After relocating to Paris in 1912, Tyrtov adopted the pseudonym, which is the French pronunciation of his initials. For the first year or two in Europe, he worked as a fashion designer for Paul Poiret, signing a contract with Harper’s Bazaar, where he designed covers for 20 years. The artist also worked for Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Ladies’ Home Journal, The Sketch and other magazines in the U.S., the U.K. and France. Some of those fashion drawings — including the better-known covers for Harper’s Bazaar, as well as a selection of the designs he made for Parisian fashion houses before World War I — will be displayed. There also will be a sampling of his set designs for theater and opera, and costumes for opera, music halls and Broadway shows. The designer created costumes for the ballet “Mata Hari” and the Ballet Russes, and influenced many fashion designers in his lifetime. Some visitors may recognize his Numbers and Alphabet series, which have been more widely distributed as prints.
In total, the Russian installation will include 136 works from the collection of London’s Grosvenor Gallery — watercolors and gouaches, pen-and-ink drawings, a few examples of prints and two sculptures. The Hermitage exhibition will run June 22 through Sept. 18.