A small slice: Erté, the Met and Delman Shoes

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Romain de Tirtoff (French [born Russia], 1892–1990), better known as Erté, was a frequent and much-loved guest of New York City.  dievca had the opportunity to appreciate his vision for shoes at the Met this summer.

In honor of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the artist’s death, a small selection from the designs acquired by the Metropolitan Museum were on view in the Robert Wood Johnson Jr. Gallery. The selection focused on the designs Erté created for the New York shoe manufacturer Herman Delman, who founded his company in 1919 with one small shoe store on Madison Avenue. Delman’s philosophy was to offer a limited selection of shoes that each stood for comfort and quality, but were also true eye-catchers during a night out on the town. This vision resonated well with what he had thus far seen from Erté in Harper’s Bazar, and he approached the artist to create designs for his firm. While the collaboration lasted for several years, only the gouaches seem to have survived.

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Though the shoes designed by Erté for Delman have diminished, the  vast collection of the Museum’s Costume Institute offers some other examples of Delman shoes from the same time period. They allow a glimpse of the uniqueness and modernity that characterized a fashionable shoe design during the 1930’s.

(click on photos for more detail)

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Not a dated or ugly shoe in the bunch. Good design is timeless.


12 Comments on “A small slice: Erté, the Met and Delman Shoes”

  1. esther says:

    love these! xx

  2. Pelelotus says:

    Erte, you just cannot go wrong x

    • dievca says:

      I love his work — always a joy to see. I loved hearing about his other collaborations, too. He designed clothing for Henri Bendel and B. Altman in NYC, magazine artwork for Harper’s Bazaar and costume designs on Broadway.

  3. Hi there, I adore these shoes. Thanks so much and congrats ❤

  4. As a girl, i filled endless pieces of paper with hand drawn shoes…i exchanged them with Gloria. She responded with her own, some similar in design, some outrageously implausible. I adore shoes. And feet. Thanks for the post, thanks for feeding my mind. Timeless design is not easy to create.


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