On 16 May 2018, Google honored the easel painter by making her the subject of the daily Google Doodle in celebration of what would have been her 120th birthday. Who is this easel painter exactly? She is “The Baroness with a Brush” — that is how Tamara de Lempicka would be described due to her distinctive Art Deco style. How did she gain this title and fame? Let’s find out more about 5 facts of Tamara de Lempicka as one of the most controversial figures in the art industry!
1. Tamara de Lempicka’s First Painting at The Age Of 12
Tamara de Lempicka was born in Warsaw in 1898 as Maria Gorska. When she was 12, her mother hired an established painter to create a portrait of her. Afterwards, she felt unsatisfied with the painting and convinced everyone that she could do it herself, even a better result.
Tamara de Lempicka’s very first painting was a portrait of her younger sister, Adrienne. That was exactly the time where she discovered her passion for the arts as well as her skills. She produced most of her notorious paintings between the 1920s and the 1930s. It was also the period where she gained many praises and awards which were given mostly for the portraits she did of her daughter.
2. Paris as The Re-establishment of Tamara de Lempicka and Her Paintings
It was actually Paris, the city where she re-established herself as “Tamara de Lempicka”, a name that had brought her to a certain fame. She was first a refugee in the city. Paris was also the city where she gave birth to her only child, Kizette, who became the reason why Lempicka was very determined to start making money from her artworks.
She started discovering her passion and skills at such a young age, grew up in Warsaw, married to a wealthy lawyer and a Baron, reinvented herself in Paris, the United States and Mexico. She was always seen hanging out with the elites and that is how Lempicka made herself big, by staying in those circles. She painted portraits of people she encountered in those social circles, as well as people to whom she could relate the most: the rich, the elite and the famous.
3. The Most Well-Known Self-Portrait Painting of Her
In 1929 Tamara de Lempicka made one of her most well-known artworks called “Autoportait”. It is a painting of herself at the wheel of a green Bugatti, a racing car, wearing a leather helmet and gloves, wrapped in a windblown grey scarf. This self-portrait of Tamara was a commissioned work for the cover of the German fashion magazine, “Die Dame”, to celebrate the independence and liberation of women.
This painting made by her has been known as one of the best examples of Art Deco portrait painting. This particular artwork really conveys her independence, high social status and her skills.
4. The Beginning of Tamara de Lempicka’s Nude Paintings and Love Affairs
It was a public secret already that Tamara de Lempicka had relationships with both men and women during her life, many of them were actually her models and patrons, probably due to her nude paintings. During that era, it was still considered rather taboo and scandalous. However, her romance and sex stories were often public.
This is probably the background story of why Lempicka made quite a number of nude paintings, of mostly women, with such intense erotic energy. She was connected to other queer female artists of the time, such as Vita Sackville-West, Violet Trefusis, Colette and the French singer and actor, Suzy Solidor. Tamara de Lempicka enjoyed this kind of hedonistic lifestyle of the roaring twenties; passionate love affairs with both genders as well as being around the high society.
5. Madonna’s Admiration for The Artworks of Tamara de Lempicka
Celebrities like Jack Nicholson, Barbara Streisand and Madonna are known as the collectors of Tamara de Lempicka’s paintings. Madonna also lends the artworks of Tamara de Lempicka to worldwide exhibitions. Some of her paintings were also featured in Madonna’s music videos for “Open Your Heart” (1987), “Express Yourself” (1989), “Vogue” (1990) and “Drowned World/Substitute for Love” (1998). Not only on those occasions, some of Tamara de Lempicka’s artworks also appeared in the movie set of “Who’s That Girl“ (1987) and the Madonna 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour.
Images via: Google, WikiArt, Raiuno