Marcel Vertès

1895 – 1961


As a young artist Vertès found success sketching for sensationalist magazines in Budapest, Hungary where he was born. He later moved to Paris, studying at the Académie Julian and establishing himself in the vibrant Paris art scene. Vertès’s work was whimsical, graceful and romantic yet with a raw honesty that defined him as one of the most important artists and illustrators of the period. During his career Vertès divided his time between Paris and New York illustrating for Vogue, Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar whilst also designing costumes and sets for theatre, ballet and film. In 1952 Vertès won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design and Art Direction for Moulin Rouge starring Zsa Zsa Gabor. Of particular note was Vertès’s long-term collaboration with Elsa Schiaparelli that saw him illustrate her couture collections, perfume bottles and advertising promotions to great acclaim. In New York, Vertès famously painted the original murals for the Café Carlyle in The Carlyle Hotel and the Peacock Alley in the The Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Vertès published a number of books including The Stronger Sex, Art & Fashion in collaboration with Bryan Holme, It’s All Mental, a satire on psychoanalysis and Amandes Vert, an illustrated biography. Vertès’s work is held in the permanent collections of museums worldwide including MoMA, New York. In 1955 Vertès was awarded the French Légion d’Honneur for his services to the Arts.