Born: 1898

Died: 1980

Gender: Female

Nationality: Polish

“I live life in the margins of society. And the rules of normal society don’t apply in the margins.” Tamara de Lempicka.

Tamara de Lempicka was born Tamara Gorska in Warsaw, Poland and married Tadeusz de Lempicki in 1916. Fleeing the Russian Revolution she settled in Paris and took up study at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere and later received tuition from Maurice Denis and Andre Lhote. By1923 she had exhibited at the Salon des Independents, the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Moins de Trente Ans.

She painted portraits generally in an Art Deco style which was an extension of Cubism and became Neo-Classicism in the 1930s. Some of her earliest subjects included writers, artists, the aristocracy and the generally well-to-do. She was interested in style both in life and in her art. She painted with strong colours in a very stylised and neat fashion, reflecting her hatred of Impressionism and her preference for precision, especially favouring the works of the Italian Renaissance. In 1925 she exhibited at Count Emmanuele Castelbarco’s gallery, the Bottega di Poesia in Italy and it was a great success. She moved to the United States in 1939 with her second husband Baron Raoul Huffner and continued to consolidate her artistic success. By the Fifties, however, her work had gone out of fashion, causing her to take up abstract art, for example in ‘Blue Abstract’ (1955). With critics dismissing her new work, she decided never to exhibit again. From 1963 to1978 she lived in Houston, Texas before moving to Mexico where she died in1980.

Some of her most impressive works included ‘Group of Four Nudes’ (1925) and ‘Irene and Her Sister’ (1925). She was known for her decadence and her elegance and both these themes can be seen in her art. Her paintings convey her fascination with beauty but not at the expense of emotion. Works such as ‘La Belle Rafaela’ (1927) and ‘Adam and Eve’ (1932) are deeply sensuous and highly individual. In the Seventies her work became fashionable once again, as it has done in the Nineties. Her work sums up the Twenties and particularly the milieu of cosmopolitanism and nobility which she inhabited.