The Laurie Beechman Presents The Life And Art Of Erte: One Night Only
Erte was nicknamed "the father of Art Deco", a soubriquet that he was not comfortable with but it unfortunately stuck. He was born into Russian aristocracy and his family tree can be traced back to the Tartar kahns. He was greatly influenced by books on Persian and Indian miniatures in his father's library and by his beloved Greek vases that he studied during frequent trips as a boy to the Hermitage Museum.
Stephan will take you on a journey through the life of one of the greatest fashion and theatrical designers of all time. Using Erté's own art, very rare photos and his unique sense of humor, Stephan's talk is less of a lecture and more of an entertainment that has delighted audiences on three continents.
Through Q and A, we shall see how Erté has influenced Stephan's own design style through his fashions, costumes, jewelry and graphic designs. You will also learn how seeing one musical in particular changed the course of Stephan's life and set him on a path that even he could have never conceived.
He was nicknamed "the father of Art Deco", a soubriquet that he was not comfortable with but it unfortunately stuck. He was born into Russian aristocracy and his family tree can be traced back to the Tartar kahns. He was greatly influenced by books on Persian and Indian miniatures in his father's library and by his beloved Greek vases that he studied during frequent trips as a boy to the Hermitage Museum
Romain de Tirtoff became known as Erte (based on the French pronunciation of his initials RT) when he moved to Paris and became a fashion designer for the House of Poiret. He became a design star for the Folies Bergère and other French music halls which brought him to Broadway to design the Ziegfeld Follies of 1923, seven productions of the George White Scandals, and to the newly formed studios of MGM in 1925. He had already became famous in the U.S. from designing covers and fashions for Harper's Bazar magazine from 1915 to 1936.
He designed for the greatest stars of the day from Mata Hari to Joan Crawford, from Lillian Gish to Anna Pavlova. And he did it all; costumes, sets, jewelry, interior design, fashions, limited edition prints, objets d'art, sculpture. He died at the age of 97 in 1990 and was still working up to the end doing sets and costumes for a Broadway bound musical revue called "Star Dust". It has been estimated that he did over 20,000 different designs.
For the past 34 years, Stephan has served as artist-in-residence for the Art Deco Society of California. He has designed magazine covers, note cards, pins and much signage for them over the years. As a freelance graphic artist, he has designed fashions, Christmas cards and sets and costumes for many plays, musicals, operas and ballets. Since moving to Newport, Oregon, Stephan has joined forces with Porthole Players as a designer and performer. His sets have included 'You Can't Take It With You', 'Sweet Charity', 'Oliver', 'Is He Dead?', 'My Fair Lady', 'Opera Comique', 'Company', 'The Producers', 'Young Frankenstein', 'Picasso at the Lapin Agile', 'Come Blow Your Horn', 'The Fantasticks' and 'The Addams Family'. As a performer, Stephan has appeared as Oscar Lindquist in 'Sweet Charity', Fagin in 'Oliver!', Col. Pickering in 'My Fair Lady', Bellomy in 'The Fantasticks', Linus in 'You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown', Bert Healy in 'Annie', Starkey the pirate in 'Peter Pan', the leading male singer in 'Side By Side By Sondheim', Fermin in 'The Phantom of the Opera', Dr. Pangloss in 'Candide', Sancho Panza in 'Man of La Mancha', Adam--Captain Sanjar--Flip, the prince, Charming in 'The Apple Tree', Franz Liebkind, the Nazi playwright in 'The Producers', and Igor in 'Young Frankenstein'.
Raised on Disney sunshine, Stephan had dreams of being an animator for Walt Disney. He learned quickly that he wasn't an animator and went into the theater. His first set designs were for his high school choir's production of The Wizard of Oz. In college, he discovered the works of Aubrey Beardsley, Alphonse Mucha and, more auspiciously, Erte. This had a major impact on him and the influence could be seen in his sets for 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', 'The Boy Friend', 'The Matchmaker', 'Show Boat', 'The Pirates of Penzance', and 'Narnia'.
Stephan also serves as artistic consultant for the City Center Newport Association otherwise know as Newport's Art Deco District. In August of 2009, he curated two exhibitions at the Newport Visual Arts Center to help promote the district. The Art of Deco had over 200 pieces on display in what was one of the best attended shows at the VAC. The public just couldn't get enough of the furniture, ceramics, jewelry, ephemera, clothes and art that took Stephan two years to amass. The second gallery had an exhibit of Retro Deco which showed the works of today's artists and craftspeople still working in the Art Deco style. In 2011, Stephan's art won 2nd, 3rd and 5th place in the Art Deco category of the American Art Awards. His love for the works of Erte and Art Deco have led him to become a sought after lecturer. He recently did his talk on Erte's life and art for the Ziegfeld Society in New York and the American Cinematheque in Hollywood. In the summer of 2016, he was in Paris to lecture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts for the newly formed Paris Art Deco Society and last May for the 14th World Congress on Art Deco in Cleveland, Ohio.
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