Thursday, 23 February 2012

Tamara de Lempicka

At my local art appreciation group we have been studying Tamara de Lempicka.  I had never heard of her before.  She was born into a wealthy and prominent family in Warsaw in 1898 and lived to be 82 years of age.

In 1916 she married Tadeusz Łempicki,a well-known ladies' man, gadabout, and lawyer by title, who was tempted by her significant dowry.  This is her painting his portrait.

In Paris, the Lempickis lived for a while from the sale of family jewels. Tadeusz proved unwilling or unable to find suitable work, which added to the domestic strain, while Maria gave birth to Kizette de Lempicka.  She rarely saw her daughter. When Kizette was not away at boarding school, she was often with her grandmother.  Kizette was neglected, but also immortalized. De Lempicka painted her only child repeatedly.  She won her first major award in 1927, first prize at the Exposition Internationale de Beaux Arts in Bordeaux for

 Kizette on the Balcony.

Kizette in Pink, 1926
During the Roaring 20s Tamara was part of the bohemian life.  Famous for her libido she was bisexual and her affairs were scandalous at that time.

Her first famous show was in Milan in 1925 and she was soon the most fashionable portrait painter of her generation among the aristocracy, painting duchesses and grand dukes and socialites and through this network of friends, she was able to display her paintings in the most elite salons of the era.

In 1925, she painted her iconic work Auto-Portrait (Tamara in the Green Bugatti) for the cover of the German fashion magazine who described the self-portrait as a real image of the independent woman who asserts herself - her hands are gloved, she is helmeted, and inaccessible; a cold and disturbing beauty through which pierces a formidable being—this woman is free.

Here are some more of her paintings

If you would like to learn more about Tamara de Lempicka you can read about her here.  Apparently Madonna is a huge fan and collector of her work as are Jack Nicholson and Barbara Streisand also.


  1. much admired!
    When we had a city break in Prague we visited an art gallery where they had some of her work on display (under highest security!) and I fell in love with it all over again!

  2. How interesting - I always think I'd like to be more knowledgeable about art but just don't know where to start.

  3. What an interesting post Ruth. I love the Art Deco period, and have collected many pieces from that period... but not paintings. These are wonderful, I especally like Tamara in the Green Bugatti.

    Thank you for your kind comments, they are much appreciated.
    Abby xx

  4. austria fm radio onlineThanks for share of nice information about This.I never seen such type of information.I really like your post and your work hope you provide more information about this.brazil fm radio online

  5. Great post very interesting I love all this type of thing. Her work is stunning. Have you heard of Frida Kahlo, very simliar girl! also collected by Madonna. There was a lot of bisexuality going on in ear, Vita Sackville another one of my loves. Virginia Woolf....I could go on but I must get off this pooter and get in the bath! time just flies when you are having fun.
    Take care.