The Alphabet

Designs by Erté



The words of Erté - from his memoirs - provide a wonderful description of the history surrounding the development of

this exquisite set of images:


I began to compose my Alphabet in 1927, after the great success of my first exposition

at the Galerie Charpentier in Paris in 1926. With my habitual optimism, I thought I would

finish it for my next exposition at the Galerie Charpentier, which was already arranged

for 1928-29.


I had not thought of all my other work, which I had to do at the same time. There was

my contract with Harper's Bazaar, which required me to send a cover drawing regularly

each month as well as a number of other drawing for fashion and decoration, in addition

to occasional articles.


There was also my work for the theatre: in 1926 and 1928, two spectacular reviews, the

George White Scandals, and in 1927 a musical comedy, Manhattan Mary, also produced

by George White at the Majestic Theature in New York. In addition: numerous drawings

for reviews at the Folies-Bergère in Paris and many theatrical costumes for opera singers

such as Lucrezia Bori (of the Metropolitan, New York), Ganna Walska (Chicago Opera

Company), Maria Kuznetsov (Paris Opera), etc. In short, at the time of my second

exposition at the Galerie Charpentier in 1929, my alphabet was barely begun. I worked

at it afterwards in every moment of relative calm. So its execution stretched out over a

long number of years.


When I wanted to show it at the Grosvenor Gallery in London, in 1967, I realized that

one letter of the alphabet had not yet been finished.


That letter was then finished in August, 1967, when I came back from Montreal, where

I had designed the sets and costumes for a big spectacle at the Expo '67. Although the

execution of the alphabet was thus broken up, the overall plan was already completely

established in my head when I started to work on it.


This series of illustrations was among those noted in his obituary published in The New York Times on 22 April 1990 - others

noted included "The Numbers", "The Seven Deadly Sins", "The Precious Stones" and "The Signs of the Zodiac".



Our Greeting Cards



For connoisseurs of Erté's work, we have prepared sets of 26 Greeting Cards displaying each of his letters from "The Alphabet" and on the left, we show an example of how these Greeting Cards appear.







Code: E A CS(26)
Price: US$130.00


When presented on Greeting Cards, these images are prepared as tipped-on plates - in hommage to the hand-crafted

approach typical of prestige illustrated publications produced in the early decades of the 20th Century. Each card is

hand-finished, with the image presented on White card stock with an accompanying envelope. On the rear of each card

we also present some information about Erté and the profiled illustration. We have left the interior of the cards blank so

that you may write your own personal message.


To purchase, simply click on the "Add to Cart" button shown above and you will be taken through to our Shopping Cart

secured through PayPal. Multiple purchases will be consolidated by that feature and shipping and handling costs to any

destination in the world are accommodated by our flat-rate fee of US$20 for every US$200 worth of purchases.


Of course, should you wish to discuss some customised options, we welcome your contact on any matter through


In the meantime, enjoy perusing these wonderful images from Erté.



The designs for "The Alphabet"























"N" "O" "P"




"R" "S" "T"




"V" "W" "X"