Tamara de Lempicka artwork

The Art of Tamara de Lempicka

Tamara Łempicka (1898-1980), known as Tamara de Lempicka, was a Polish artist who lived in Paris between the world wars and relocated to the United States in 1939.

Her breakthrough came at the 1925 International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts, which gave its name to the Art Deco movement. She exhibited her paintings in two of the exhibition’s venues, where they were spotted by journalists from Harper’s Bazaar and other fashion magazines. Exhibitions in Italy and the United States followed.

Tamara de Lempicka
Tamara de Lempicka, circa 1931-32

In 1929, Lempicka painted her famous Autoportrait (Tamara in a Green Bugatti) for the cover of the German fashion magazine Die Dame. At the height of her popularity in the 1930s, she painted portraits of King Alfonso XIII of Spain and Queen Elizabeth of Greece.

Her Art Deco style fell out of fashion after the Second World War but was rediscovered in the 1960s. A retrospective exhibition held at the Luxembourg Gallery in 1972, eight years before her death, received positive reviews. Lempicka’s paintings were featured on the British book covers of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

Owing to her marriage to Austro-Hungarian Baron Raoul Kuffner, Lempicka became known in the press as “The Baroness with the Brush”. She had affairs with men and women throughout her life.

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