Not Only Erte: Costume Design for the Paris Music Hall 1918-1940 by Angelo Luerti

NOT ONLY ERTE Costume design for the Paris Music Hall 1918 1940 by Angelo Luerti

A Review of
NOT ONLY ERTE
Costume design for the Paris Music Hall 1918-1940
by Angelo Luerti

This is the most important book published to explore the full range of costume design talent that helped make the Parisian Music Hall a pinnacle of artistic achievement in the Jazz Age. 

The cover of the book Not Only Erte: Costume Design for the Paris Music Hall 1918-1940 by Angelo Luerti
The cover of the book Not Only Erte: Costume Design for the Paris Music Hall 1918-1940 by Angelo Luerti

The title is deliberately provocative -Not Only Erte  – to re-inforce the concept that there were many clever and innovative costume designers beside Erte working in Paris and the rest of Europe in the Jazz Age. Indeed, it would be my argument that these designers were all of equal importance and as imaginative and creative as Erte. 

The book illustrates the work of fifty costume designers for the revues of the Paris Music Hall between 1918-1940 who, due to artistic and intellectual snobbery, have long been neglected and relegated to a supporting role. Rediscovered in the late Sixties as the result of a more general re-evaluation of Art Déco, the artwork of these designers has been universally appreciated for their historical and artistic value and elevated to the rank of genuine works of art.

Sample pages from the book Not Only Erte: Costume Design for the Paris Music Hall 1918-1940 by Angelo Luerti
Sample pages from the book Not Only Erte: Costume Design for the Paris Music Hall 1918-1940 by Angelo Luerti

The author Angelo Luerti is an avid collector of Parisian music hall artwork and spent many years researching this book. His conclusion is that in the past the many creative contemporaries of Erté were ignored, largely due to a lack of information and his aim is to pay tribute and restore the legacy of their artistic contributions and give them the prestige and attention that they deserve.

While Erte endured after World War 2 and his artwork was preserved and publicised, virtually all the other artists had vanished and much of their work mislaid, destroyed or undiscovered. They were mysterious, some known only by their chosen professional names, their true identities lost and even their nationalities unknown. Equally, little research had been conducted on the Parisian Music Hall itself and there was little information on the theatres and shows in which the many artists had worked.

These artists include Charles Gesmar (French) who died prematurely in 1928; Freddy Wittop (Dutch) later to become a top Broadway designer; Count Ladislas Czettel (Austrian), Bakst’s only pupil, later to become chief designer at the Vienna Opera; Dany (French); Rene Hubert (Swiss); Zig (French); Louis Curti (English); Pol Rab; Rene Ranson; Revolg; Alexandre Zinoview; Hugh Willoughby (English); Dolly Tree (English); Jean Le Seyeux (French); Jose de Zamora (Spanish); Jean Le Seyeux (French); Umberto Brunelleschi;  Jenny Carre; Alec Shanks (English); Madeleine Vilpelle (French); Jean Aumond (French); George Barbier (French);  Umberto Brunelleschi (Italian); Felix De Gray;  Michel Gyarmathy; Edouard Halouze; Endre, Rene Ranson; Zinoiview (Russian), Marco Montedoro (Italian) and Paul Seltenhammer.

Highlights include:

  • Includes the work of 50 designers for Paris Music-hall during the period 1918-1940
  • Text in Italian and English
  • Over 500 colour photographs of costume designs, sets and posters arranged as a designs catalogue
  • Mini-biographies of all the main designers 
  • A short history of the Parisian Music Hall with detail of the theatres and shows staged at the Casino de Paris, Concert Mayol, Folies Bergère, Les Ambassadeurs, Moulin Rouge, Palace, Ba-ta-clan and, in short, at the Bal Tabarin, Chatelet, Empire Music-hall-Cirque, La Cigale, Marigny, Mogador and the Olympia.
  • Describes the key performers in the Parisian Music hall
  • Chronology of the Paris Music hall by theatre or music hall
  • Chronology of credits for each designer
  • Looks at all the major theatrical costume workshops such as Pascaud, Rasimi and Max Weldy 
  • Section on important French fashion and entertainment magazine 
  • Binding in editorial paperback dressed in black silk with manual insertion of four illustrations of the cover. Case dressed in black silk. 
  • Format: 24x34cm with 288 pages

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