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Tamara De Lempicka, Artworks for You – The Complete Guide to Art Deco Paintings of Women

02.08.2021
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Tamara De Lempicka, Artworks

Art Deco icon, dandy woman, and Madonna’s favorite artist. The legacy of Tamara de Lempicka is still alive – it goes beyond the boundaries of history and philosophy of art, boldly bursting into the world of fashion, photography, literature, and music.

Who Is Tamara De Lempicka?

Lempicka was born in Warsaw at the turn of the 20th century and began traveling at a young age. She spent most of her creative life in the West, mainly in Paris and the United States. This explains why many Americans saw her as a French artist, but in fact, she was truly cosmopolitan. She lived in many cities – from St. Petersburg to Los Angeles and from London to New York. This is also reflected by her pseudonym, which turned Maria Gurska into Tamara de Lempicka, which could not but intrigue.

She painted the high society of Paris, Milan, and New York: women in bold, bright dresses, men in suits and bow ties.

Tamara de Lempicka, an artist, was influenced by Cubism, as well as the aesthetics of Futurism and Classicism in the style of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. In Paris, where she lived in the Roaring Twenties with her first husband, a Polish lawyer, Tadeusz Lempicka painter, she became a significant figure in the art world.

Tamara De Lempicka, Artworks

Tamara De Lempicka, Artworks

Although her work has been exhibited at the Salon d’Automne, Salon des Indépendents and Salon des Tuilerie, the road to fame was not just working for her: she was a socialite, the mistress of many, a friend of Jean Cocteau and James Joyce. She was not constrained by any moral norms: she was married, but bisexual, she had affairs with both men and women. She went to clubs, took drugs, was as independent and free as possible. Her words are known:

  • “I live on the periphery of society, and the rules of a normal society do not apply to those who live on the outskirts.”

Tamara de Deepika’s reputation for art was both a blessing and a curse: when she moved to New York in 1939 with her second husband, Baron Raoul Küffner, she was not taken seriously, and her art was considered anachronistic in postmodern America. At first, she began to paint still lifes, then turned to abstract painting, but was unable to repeat her previous success. When Baron Kuffner died in 1961, she made – however extravagant it was – three voyages around the world, and finally decided to settle in Cuernavaca (Mexico), where she died in 1980.

The revival of Tamara de Ericka, art deco began in the late 1960s. In 1973, a retrospective exhibition of Lempicka’s works was organized at the Luxembourg Gallery in Paris. Several years later, the Canadian playwright John Chrysank wrote the play, Tamara, about her famous meeting with the Italian writer Gabriele D’Annunzio. The play was staged first in Toronto, then in Los Angeles and New York. More recently, in 2013, the story of Lempicka’s relationship with one of her models served as the plot of the novel by American writer Ellis Avery, entitled “The Last Nude”. However, the influence of Lempicka’s creativity on literature was not limited to this.

Tamara de Lempicka, paintings have become very popular with publishers, who have repeatedly featured her most famous paintings on the covers of their books. The Girl in the Green Dress appears on the cover of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most iconic work, The Great Gatsby, by Oxford World’s Classics, while Smoke and Other Early Stories, another classic of American modernism, Juna Barnes, was published with Lempicka’s painting “The Card Players” on the cover.

  • However, it is especially important that Lempicka’s works were used by Penguin as covers for Ayn Rand’s books Atlas Shrugged, The Source, Anthem, and We Are Alive. Harmonious, strong figures – perhaps superheroes – with no emotion whatsoever, as well as modernist aesthetics, are very much in line with Rand’s controversial individualistic philosophy of objectivism.

Tamara De Lempicka Style

Tamara De Lempicka, Style

If we, like most people, decide to call Lempicka a Polish artist, then she will certainly turn out to be the most expensive artist from Poland. Tamara de Lempicka portraits are now on sale at Sotheby’s for millions of dollars.

Her art was never intended exclusively for galleries. One of the most famous paintings, a self-portrait in a Green Bugatti, was commissioned by the editor of the German fashion magazine Die Dame when he saw Tamara driving her car. He became, in fact, a model for all the following portraits of independent women of that time.

In the 1930s, Tamara de Lempicka works with Revlon to advertise a new lipstick. This is not surprising – her paintings still inspire fashion designers. Satin and knitted dresses, bold, bright colors, and geometric shapes have become the archetypes of fashion photography – women in frozen poses, with cold looks and beautiful but impenetrable faces.

  • Legendary Vogue photographer Steven Meisel has recreated Lempitskaya’s style in a number of his works, including the 2008 series Morning Beauty with Russian model Natalia Vodianova. Music icon, red-haired Florence Welch, in her Karl Lagerfeld cover photoshoot for “Shake It Out” single, looks like she stepped out of one of Lempicka’s Art Deco portraits. Photographers Marijana Gligich and Eugenio Recuenco recreated poses, colors, and geometric shapes taken from Lempicka’s paintings in their works.

The clothing itself also became a source of inspiration for the designers: Armani and Lanvin created dresses in the style of the most famous art deco paintings of women, such as “Blue Woman with a Guitar” and “Girl in a Green Dress”. The spring 2010 Max Mara collection, presented by Polish model Małgorzata Bela, also has a touch of minimalist yet sensual Art Deco silhouettes.

In addition to literature and fashion, nostalgia critic Tamara hot has become a source of inspiration for the developers of the famous video game BioShock. The game takes place in a fictional underwater city called Rapture, which was built in the 1940s as a perfect city – something like that Ayn Rand could have come up with – but turns into a terrible nightmare. References to Lempicka’s art are present in the paintings hung in the halls and in the general aesthetics, especially in the style in which female characters are depicted.

Madonna’s Favorite Artist

Madonna’s Favorite Artist

Lempicka’s biggest admirers – and the biggest collectors of her paintings, along with Jack Nicholson and Barbara Streisand – include Madonna. The pop star even incorporated some of the artist’s style into her music videos Express Yourself (1989) and Vogue (1990), directed by David Fincher, which include, among other things, a reference to the androgynous Portrait of the Duchess De La Salle. Its silhouette echoes Lempicka’s cubist geometric style. The video for the song “Open Your Heart” (1987) actually begins with footage of a giant reproduction of Lempicka’s Andromeda, which Madonna actually bought in anticipation of the Polish artist’s resurgence in popularity.

The Queen of Pop was also featured in a 2009 Louis Vuitton ad campaign featuring photographer Steven Meisel, who is influenced by Man Ray’s solarized photographs and key and hand paintings by Tamara de Lempicka. Bright backgrounds, draperies, hyper-realistic colors, and, of course, frozen poses that exude sensuality and independence – all this clearly refers to the aesthetics of the “roaring twenties” in general and Tamara Lempitskaya in particular.

In 2004, after visiting the exhibition “Tamara de Lempicka: Art Deco Icon” at the Royal Academy of London, cultural historian Fiona McCarthy wrote in the newspaper “The Guardian” that the work of the artist of the pre-war period was very characteristic of her time – the time when Europe was slipping into the abyss:

  • “De Lempicka was an artist of the fascist super world: her portraits were associated with the art movement“ call to order ”, the return of monumental realism in European art. Her art exudes a dark and ambiguous glamor of authoritarian discipline. When she draws the Duchess De La Salle, she depicts her in boots, with one hand in her pocket, in a pose that expresses superiority. This is a stunning portrait, painted with pure theatrical enjoyment, an unmistakable sense of the interior, de Lempicka’s best work. “

Obviously, the portraits of the wealthy and decadent European elite in all their splendor can be considered their swan song, which adds another layer to the diverse work of this artist.

Lempicka has never been a subtle colorist. Even in the best works, her palette was limited to a fairly narrow range of shades, at the level of a usual poster designer. She used red in her models’ lips and nails. Red-brown and deep blue was often used by the artist to contrast with white or cream. For a special effect, the artist used poisonous greens with a tint of blue. She never made an attempt to study the shades with which the shadow effect is achieved, she used brown or black colors for this purpose.

But it is precisely these bright local, often daring color spots that are the reflection of the essence of Tamara de Lempicki – an artist. She created honest and deeply intimate portraits of people within the framework of highly artistic and decorative, somewhere even ornate Art Deco. This is its peculiarity and originality. Going through her life, she was not afraid of misunderstanding and condemnation, she was herself, she was looking for herself, and eventually grew into an interesting and conscious person.

In addition, her legacy is invaluable in that she was able to capture the image of a certain social stratum, in a certain place, at a certain time, giving us the illusion of immersion in the past, not only visual but energetic. Since Lempicki’s paintings are definitely strong and complex energy.
Now you have found out who is Tamara de Lempicka and all the necessary information about her, thanks to our article, which we have prepared with the team especially for you.

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