Tamara Lempicka, Composition Abstraite, 1960, Oil on Canvas, 16 x 1/8 x 12 inches

Tamara de Lempicka

b.1898 and died 1980

Tamara de Lempicka began her art education as a young girl visiting her family in Italy and the French Riviera where she was able to learn and visit with the Great Masters of Italian Painting. However, Russia during the 1910s decade completely uprooted the privileged world she had inherited. After marrying young she fled along with her husband, eventually settling in Paris. Her bold artistic style was an amalgam of soft and synthetic cubism with some obvious art deco influences, but when she destroyed regular spatial conventions her reconstructions were clean, precise and novel, unlike many of her Cubist contemporaries.

Lempicka became a very social figure in the 1920s for her forward thinking, bohemian lifestyle that including indulging her bisexual appetite. However with all her socializing her family felt relegated to a secondary role. Despite her family fading into the periphery of her life Lempicka’s daughter, Kizette, was the subject of many striking portraits.

Lempicka’s work reflected her lifestyle. She began painting empowered, independent women but in a cold and almost inaccessible way. In the 1930s Lempicka was introduced to prominent American artists and began showing her art throughout America, including Pittsburg at the Carnegie Institute, Beverly Hills and Chicago where she befriended Georgia O’ Keeffe and Willem de Koonig.

Lempicka eventually settled down in Beverly Hills and continued to paint there but with much less critical acclaim. After negative reviews in the 1960s she slowed down her active artist life but continued to rework earlier pieces when she felt the need. Lempicka was truly one of the first prominent female artists and her hectic, active social life added to her allure and fame.