NEW YORK — Dissolving estates has long been a primary function of auction houses. The late collector’s beloved items are brought to market to become additions to other collections, and the cycle repeats endlessly. Auctions at Showplace has several New York-area estates represented in its Sunday, November 19 280-lot sale, with one collector’s focus on Erté forming a centerpiece to the event. The catalog is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.
Born Roman Petrovich Tyrtov (later, Romain de Tirtoff) to a distinguished Russian family in St. Petersburg, Erté (1892-1990) moved at early age to Paris to make his reputation as an artist, adopting his public name from the French pronunciation of his initials (R – T). He would enjoy a wildly successful and varied career, designing for motion pictures, creating popular magazine covers, and perhaps most successfully, scupture and works of art, as this sale contains.
The Auctions at Showplace estate consignment includes 11 lots, drawn primarily from the final years of Erté’s life, which apparently saw high output from his firm. A gilt-bronze menorah from 1987 is titled Tree of Life, and is marked with standard Erté identification, along with the Conker foundry mark. It is estimated at $1,500-$2,500.
In the final years of his life, Erté designed Trois Femmes, a patinated bronze table bowl depicting three views of a classic Art Deco-period woman. Described as a proof, the work was cast in 1990, measures 9 by 11in and carries an estimate of $800-$1,200.
The sale also includes four Erté bronze sculptures, perhaps the most iconic grouping in the event. Designed and cast in 1984, Peace depicts a mythic female breaking a sword while a dove flies overhead. Like the other three sculptures, it is estimated at $1,500-$2,500.