The Polish painter
Tamara de Lempicka was born in Warsaw on May 16, 1898. Her
actual name was Maria Gorski, she was the daughter of a bourgeois
family. She marries the solicitior Tadeusz Lempicki in 1916 and
lives with him in St. Petersburg. In 1918 they flee the October
Revolution to Paris.
adolescence she is taught painting. In Paris she attends the
Académie de la Grande Chaumière where she takes classes
with Maurice Denis at first and later with André Lhote, who
influences her the most. Tamara de Lempicka begins to work as an
artist and also exhibits her works. At the same time the Paris art
scene offers her the opportunity to get in contact with Paris's
upper class. Up until 1925 she pretends to be a male artist by
using the male form of her last name to sign her paintings.
Her first one-man
show takes place in Milan in 1925. Her painting that captures the
“Art déco” atmosphere also catches on in Paris.
She makes numerous portraits of members of the upper class and also
nude drawings that live up to the erotic desires of those days.
Tamara de Lempicka is ambitious and determined to be successful and
part of the Parisian high society. Her career reaches its peak at
around 1935, however her marriage suffers and breaks, but she soon
marries the Hungarian baron Kuffner.
Tamara de Lempicka
mostly executes portraits and nudes. Her oeuvre comprises very few
still lifes, city views or abstract compositions. As of 1935 her
paintings become more and more decorative and loose their formal
tension and cool erotic appeal. Together with baron Kuffner she
emigrates to Beverly Hills in the USA in 1935. Even though Tamara
de Lempicka becomes one of Hollywood's most popular painters, her
art looses its persuasive power.
The couple lives in
New York as of 1943. She returns to Paris for several short visits
after World War II and moves to Houston, Texas after her husband's
death in 1962. This time also marks the beginning of her abstract
period that is not crowned with success, however. In 1978 she moves
to Cuernavca in Mexiko where she dies on March 18, 1980.
accompanying this article of Tamara de Lempicka, was photographed
by the d'Ora Studio, Paris, in 1929.