Tamara De Lempicka

Ackermans Fine Art

Tamara De LempickaPolish, 1898-1980

Tamara De Lempicka was born in Warsaw in 1898. Born to a rich family, her actual birth name was Maria Gorski. When she was 18, in 1916, she married a solicitor, Tadeusz Lempicki of St. Peterrsburg, and later in 1918, they fled the revolution to Paris. She had started painting as a teenager, with her family paying for her lessons. When she arrived in Paris, she sought out Maurice Denis and then Andre Lohte to continue to give her lessons, and they were eventually the biggest influences in her work.

Right away, she started to work on her painting. She had access to the Paris upper class because of her status, but she signed her paintings as a man, using her husbands last name as she believed they found male artists more credible. In 1925, she was able to hold her first one-man exhibition, and she could no longer pretend to be a man. Her unveiling was well received however she immediately got commissioned to do numerous paintings of the rich and famous of Paris. She was especially known for her nude drawings, which in the standard of the day were considered very erotic.

Tamara de Lempicka was ambitious. She wanted to be part of the Parisan elite, and she was using her art to get there. The peak of her career came 10 years later in 1935 but it cost her her first marriage. She soon after married a Hungarian Baron named Kuffner. They immediately moved to Hollywood.  She became one of Hollywoods most famous painters, but by then she was doing more and more decorative portraits rather than erotic paintings. Her art eventually declined and she took to travelling between Europe and the United States. Eventually, she moved to Houston, Texas and then later to Mexico where she died in 1980.