This is how Tamara de Lempicka, the most famous Art Deco painter, was described by her Hollywood clients. If one wanted to enter the socialite circles, one needed the portrait made by her- the ‘Baroness of the brush’.
“Independent woman who asserts herself”
She was born into a well-off and prominent family, her father was a Russian Jewish attorney and her mother a Polish socialite. She was an educated and well-traveled young lady who had seen Italian masters, the French Riviera, Swiss landscapes and opera shows in St.Petersburg, where one day she noticed a handsome gentleman she became determined to marry. It was Tadeusz Łempicki, a lawyer and a Casanova.
Epitomy of Art Deco
When in 1917 in Russia the Bolshevik Revolution broke out, the newlywed couple moved to Copenhagen, then to London, to finally settle in Paris where Tamara began studying at the Académie de la Grand Chaumière under the instruction of Nabi painter, Maurice Denis, as well as the Cubist André Lhote. Their influences, especially Cubist ones, are well evident in her bold geometric style. Her paintings are the epitomy of the elegant Art Deco and the Roaring Twenties: solid volumes of idealized women against the backdrop of industrial cities or the latest technology.
Love and career
Her first exhibition took place in 1925 in Milan, and two years later she won her first major prize at the Exposition Internationale des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux, France. She lived a bohemian lifestyle which at the time was considered scandalous because filled with parties and lovers, both male and female, such as Gabrielle D’Annunzio, Austro-Hungarian Baron Raoul Kuffner von Diószeg or Colette, a French writer.
Always the star
At the outbreak of the WW2, she moved with her second husband, the Baron von Diószeg to the United States where she became the favourite artist of the stars again. She also began decorating apartments of her New York friends. However, the advent of the Abstract Expressionism halted her career and her following paintings ended up in the attic and warehouse.
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