tamara de lempicka

      Tamara de Lempicka
      Photograph 1929
      © Photo d’ora, Paris


      • Born: May 16, 1898
      • Birth place: Warsaw, Poland or Moscow
      • Birth name: Maria Górska
      • Married: Tadeusz Lempicki, Baron Raoul Kuffner, 1933-62 (his death)
      • Date of death: March 19, 1980

    • Tamara de Lempicka is today regarded as the most fasionable of all the Art Deco painters. Her own life mirrored the daring of her own work.

      She was born into a wealthy family. When she was 14, her parents divorced, and her grandmother sent her to a school in Lausanne, Switzerland. At only 16, she married Tadeusz Lempicki, a lawyer, in St. Petersburg, Russia.

      This was the time of the Russian Revolution and when her husband was arrested by the Bolsheviks, Tamara pleaded for and secured her husband's release.

      The couple then fled to Paris, and it was at this time she used the name Tamara de Lempicka. She studied art and from it developed her bold style blended with soft cubism. This turned out to be the coolness, the chicness, and the modernism of Art Deco. Quickly she became sought after for her portraits.

      In life, she too was beautifully cool and beautifully chic. She was bisexual in a time when bisexual was scandalous. But bisexuality in her work was put onto the canvas in such a powerful way that then as now her work blurs any sexual distinction between straight and lesbian love.

      In 1933, the year the Nazi Party came to power in Grmany, she married her second husband, Baron Raoul Kuffner. She was 35. When the Second World War arrived in 1939, the couple moved to Beverly Hills, California. Four years later they moved to New York City where she continued to paint in her trademark style.

      When her husband died in 1962, she moved to Houston, Texas. Having used her trademark style for well over thirty years she tried to develop a new one. The public didn't want to know and she stopped painting.

      At 80, she moved to Cuernavaca, Mexico. Two years later in 1980, she died in her sleep.

      Her ashes were scattered over the volcano Popocatepetl.


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