Described as a The Baroness with a Brush, Tamara Lempicka is hailed for her distinctive Art Deco style.
Lempicka would be celebrating her birthday on May 16. In her honour, Google is changing its logo in 14 countries.
This is her story:
Born Maria Gorska in Warsaw, Poland, in 1898, Lempicka’s love for art started at an early stage.
As a young child, in 1911, she spent a summer in Italy with her grandmother, who inspired her love for great Italian Renaissance painters, which would define the rest of her life.
The same year, the Russian Revolution started. Her husband was arrested in the middle of the night by the Bolsheviks.
The artist arrived in Paris at the height of post-cubism. In Paris, she reinvented herself as “Tamara de Lempicka” a name that had direct aristocratic pretensions.
The artist was a refugee in the city, her daughter Kizette was born in Paris, adding to their financial burden, and making Tamara determined to make money from her art.
She began her formal art training under French painters Maurice Denis and Andre Lhote.
Lhote was her most influential mentor as his style – often referred to as “soft cubism” – is detectable in Lempicka’s style.
She became prominent in Paris’ bohemian art scene, her paintings merging late cubist and neoclassical techniques to create a metal-like visual style that was her own.
“My goal is never to copy,” Lempicka reportedly said. Instead, she sought to “create a new style, clear luminous colours”.
My goal is never to copy
By the mid-1920s, Lempicka’s portraits were being exhibited in Paris salons.
In 1927 Lempicka painted one of her best-known works: Autoportrait (Lempicka in a green Bugatti), for the cover of German fashion magazine Die Dame.
In the same year, she received her first prize at the Exposition Internationale des Beaux-Arts for the painting Kizette on the Balcony, a portrait of her daughter.
She placed a high value on working, famously saying: “There are no miracles, there is only what you make.”
— iretweetart (@IRetweetArt) March 13, 2017
In 1943 she moved to New York City. By then her style had become somewhat passe, and as a result, her work wasn’t in as much demand as it had been before.
Following the baron’s death, the artist sold many of her possessions and made three around-the-world trips by ship.
By then, she was repainting her early works; the last work she did was the fourth copy of her painting of St Anthony.