Fort Lauderdale art gallery boasts only full collection of Erté sculptures

Collection valued at more than $3 million

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Tucked inside a Fort Lauderdale art gallery is the only full collection of Erté sculptures.

“They make it out of wax and then fill it with bronze and it melts the wax away,” Brooke Trace, the owner of North Beach Art Gallery, said.

Romain de Tirtoff was a Russian-born French artist and designer known by the pseudonym Erté, from the French pronunciation of his initials. Trace hopes to reawaken his flair as we cross into 2020, a full centennial since Art Deco in the 1920s.

She purchased the full collection from a private art collector in Aruba who knew Erté well. She said there are only two other collections owned privately but neither featuring the original rare piece, “Letter F.”

The collection is valued over $3 million with 205 items compiled that features bronze sculptures, writing and magazines, and other original collectibles.

“In total, you have 146 bronze sculptures, 13 pieces of art, 10 medallions and the two portfolio suites -- the alphabet and the numerals totals 205 pieces,” Trace said.

In the 1920s, Erté name was synonymous with fashion magazines covers and theater sets of the interwar period in France, Britain and the United States.

“To have a private collector to have every receipt for every purchase, every certificate of authenticity to any brochures -- it’s just such a beautiful story this collection, it’s hard to have a favorite,” Trace said.