Erte – one of the brightest characters of an art scene of the 20th century. Having Russian origins and absolutely forgotten in Russia, he admired George Balanchine and Andy Warhol. A fashion and graphic artist, an author of theatrical costumes a sculptor, he remained in the history of our century’s art as the brightest representative of the art deco style.
Erte is a pseudonym, where the real name of one of the most successful artists of the 20th century is Roman Petrovich Tyrtov and the pseudonym is originated from the French pronunciation of his first initials. This paper is an analysis and a personal evaluation of one of Erte’s works which is “Sandstorm” (1985) presented on Erte’s website erte.com.
Description of the Work
The graphical work is representing a painted picture of a sandstorm as its title implies and it was produced in 1985. The sandstorm is presented as an oriental image where a Bedouin on a camel is facing the storm in the form of a veiled eastern woman. The picture is rich in soft pastel tones, and smooth lines.
The color palette implies a certain time of the day and establishes a contrast between the softness of the atmosphere and the harshness of the sandstorm. The picture can form an allusion of seduction to use a particular path and the decision of the Bedouin to stop rather than continue his journey.
The work is constructed as a possible description of the desert’s beauty along with the dangers that it might carry. It is might be planned as a revision of the classical representation of the aforementioned natural phenomena, which is usually related to the absence of the vision and the light time of the day and a yellow color palette.
This revision is evident in the various attempts to soften the image with the repetitive smooth curves and color from one gamma. The portrayal of the storm as a beautiful woman can also be contributed to the soft image of the storm.
In describing the work in one word, despite the title of the picture, the first thing that comes to mind is calmness. The picture can put the viewer in a certain state of mind similar to sitting by the shore watching the waves under a clear sky, where nothing changes except the increasing waves.
The same contrast can be viewed in “Sandstorm” where even the colors are similar to the ocean’s waves and the only thing that imply a desert is a camel. In that sense, a description of camels as desert ships can be associated with this picture.
Personally, I think that the work succeeds in delivering the desired image where the desert was viewed from a different perspective. In that sense, this work can be exemplary as a representation of Erte’s influence by Persian and Indian Miniatures and Greek vases.
Even the position of the elements on the picture can point out the similarity to a vase, where most of the details are in the wide bottom and the narrowing end is mostly empty except for curves and colors. The work can be viewed as original in delivering the unseen and the unknown part of the desert life.
Tirtoff, Romain. Sandstorm. 1985. Erte.Com. Web.