For Luna Luna, Erté designed an Art Deco-style stage set that housed two “magic-theatre paintings” by André Heller in which performers recited texts written by Hans Magnus Enzensberger.
Art Deco-style stage set
Erté was a key figure in the Art Deco movement, creating iconic illustrations, costumes, and stage sets
He outfitted famous screen actresses such as Joan Crawford and Marion Davies and designed costumes for the 1920’s Broadway musical revue Ziegfield Follies, among many other theatrical productions
In 1976, Erté was awarded the title of Officer of Arts and Letters by the French government
Designer and artist Erté was a key figure of the Art Deco movement who designed numerous illustrations, prints, costumes, and stage sets throughout his prolific career. Erté’s visual language was inspired by varied sources, including Russian iconography, Egyptian and Indian art, and Greek ceramics. Born Romain de Tirtoff, Erté worked briefly for French couturier Paul Poiret after arriving in Paris in 1912.
Erté’s visual language was inspired by varied sources, including Russian iconography, Egyptian and Indian art, and Greek ceramics.
In 1915, Erté began a 20-year career designing monthly magazine covers in pen and ink for Harper’s Bazaar. His highly stylized illustrations depict models in mannered poses draped in luxurious jewels and soft, flowing gowns against ornate Art Deco-style backgrounds. Erté went on to create original costumes for actresses such as Joan Crawford and Marion Davies, as well as stage designs and costumes for venues including Radio City Music Hall in New York and the Folies-Bergère in Paris. In 1925, Louis. B Mayer, head of MGM Studios, invited Erté to Hollywood to design sets and costumes, but no film for which he designed ever materialized.
For Luna Luna, Erté designed an Art Deco-style stage set reminiscent of his 1926 set design produced for the musical revue series George White’s Scandals. The backdrop depicts a black eye mask, each eye framing a dancer inside. This sits atop a butterfly figure, its wings outstretched, covered in all-seeing eyes, its face designed to resemble an Egyptian death mask. On stage, performers recited texts written by Hans Magnus Enzensberger in response to the two “magic-theater paintings” by André Heller—The Spider Woman and The Deceived Deceivers—which adorned the space’s interior.