London, South Kensington
6 December 2002
'ERTÉ'. A costume design [?for Le Secret du Sphinx], 1924, in gouache heightened with gold, silver and bronze depicting a female figure with outstretched blood-stained hands, signed 'Erté', the verso further inscribed 'No. 712 , L'Adoratrice de Veau d'Or , IV-1924' and with studio inkstamps, 378 x 276mm, framed and glazed.
Erté met Maurice Rostand (1891-1968, son of the playwright Edmond Rostand) in 1924, when Rostand commissioned costume designs from Erté for his play Le Secret du Sphinx, which was premiered at the Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt, Paris in 1924. The subject and date of the design (and comparison with other costumes for the production) suggest that the present design was for Le Secret du Sphinx. The Isola brothers who directed the Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt (and other Parisian venues), subsequently commissioned costume designs and decor for their 1929 production of Edmond Rostand's La Princesse de Lointaine from Erté (see following lot).
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