Friday, April 19, 2013

Tamara de Lempika - Pinocotheque

Yesterday was opening day of Tamara de Lempika exhibit at the Pinacotheque. Clearly the best day to see many exhibits in Paris. I'm sure this one will soon be crowded. It's extensive and quite beautiful.

Some background on de Lempicka from Wikipedia:
Born into a wealthy and prominent family, her father was Boris Gurwik-Górski, a Polish lawyer, and her mother, the former Malvina Decler, a Polish socialite. Maria was the middle child with two siblings. She attended boarding school in Lausanne, Switzerland, and spent the winter of 1911 with her grandmother in Italy and on the French Riviera, where she was treated to her first taste of the Great Masters of Italian painting. In 1912, her parents divorced, and Maria went to live with her wealthy Aunt Stefa in St. Petersburg, Russia. When her mother remarried, she became determined to break away to a life of her own. In 1913, at the age of fifteen, while attending the opera, Maria spotted the man she became determined to marry. She promoted her campaign through her well-connected uncle, and in 1916, she married Tadeusz Łempicki (1888–1951) in St. Petersburg—a well-known ladies' man, gadabout, and lawyer by title, who was tempted by the significant dowry. In 1917, during the Russian Revolution, Tadeusz was arrested in the dead of night by theBolsheviks. Maria searched the prisons for him, and after several weeks with the help of the Swedish consul, she secured his release. They traveled to Copenhagen then London and finally to Paris to where Maria's family had also escaped, along with numerous upper-class Russian refugees.

De Lampika said, "All my paintings are me". 
A strikingly attractive woman who made the most of herself playing up her dramatic angular features, she painted beaucoup self portraits. But her other portraits mirror her distinctive bone structure and elegant style.

Just around the corner from the Pinacotheque, Fauchon has the perfect afternoon snack/gouter with an Art Deco feel to it, the timely Aristofraise eclair don't you think?

In Paris de Lempika made a big splash early at just 26 winning recognition and awards at annual exhibitions with her unusual chiseled paintings. She came to know Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Andre Gide and other luminaries in the 20's.

Interestingly there are loads of preparatory drawings in the exhibition so often missing in retrospective exhibitions.

I was surprised by all the portraits of children. De Lampika painted her own daughters often though she neglected them away from the canvas.

This darling child's portrait inspired me to try a blue bow on.

Bebe Elizabeth.

If you love Art Deco and the 20's this is a don't miss show.

De Lampika was independent not just on the canvas.

From Wikipedia: Famous for her libido, she was bisexual, and her affairs with both men and women were carried out in ways that were scandalous at the time. She often used formal and narrative elements in her portraits and nude studies to produce overpowering effects of desire and seduction. In the 1920s she became closely associated with lesbian and bisexual women in writing and artistic circles, such asViolet Trefusis, Vita Sackville-West, and Colette. She also became involved with Suzy Solidor, a night club singer at Boîte de Nuit, whom she later painted. Her husband eventually tired of their arrangement and abandoned her in 1927. They were divorced in 1931 in Paris.

In 1928, her longtime patron the Baron Raoul Kuffner von Diószeg (1886–1961) visited her studio and commissioned her to paint his mistress. De Lempicka finished the portrait, then took the mistress' place in the Baron's life and later married him becoming a Baroness. She travelled to the United States for the first time in 1929, to paint a commissioned portrait for Rufus Bush and to arrange a show of her work at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh. The show went well but the money she earned was lost when the bank she used collapsed following the Stock Market Crash of 1929.
Quite a life and that's just a little bit of it, de Lampika lived till 80. Though her paintings went out of style in the 40's, they're now are highly sought after.
8, rue Vignon
Metro: MadeleineAn Art Deco balcon in my neighborhood that de Lempika may have approved of...


  1. de Lempicka. You've made a mistake in her name...

    1. I can't spell worth a damn...will fix a toute de suite
      Merci Carolg

  2. Your baby is adorb to coin a word:)

    I was reminded for some strange reason of Louis Icart..yet there really is no resemblance in genre except perhaps the period?
    I wonder if the perfume I favor was created in her name..

    1. Lolita Lempicka represents the name chosen by the French designer Josiane Maryse Pividal. The source of inspiration for the name was the classic novel by Vladimir Nabokov, “Lolita” and the Polish Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka.

  3. Scrumptious~
    especially fond of her child sketches and portraits.

  4. Art deco eclairs now on my to eat list wonderful piece Carol

  5. This is a great posting I have read. Thanks lot for this useful article, nice post

  6. Anonymous3:56 PM

    I recently gave a lecture on the history of Art Deco. In a section of my talk called "The Innovators", I spoke about her specifically.

  7. Wow,Carol! Great post filled with thought provoking information.
    I don't agree with her lifestyle but admire her talent.That lady had guts, to say the least.

  8. I love those opening paintings, I've never seen her work before, but I am a fan now.
    Such an interesting life! Only in Paris, I guess :)

    1. Yes she was Very wild, even for her time she shocked!

  9. Never heard of her before. Always fun to come here to learn about something or someone new and fascinating. Thanks Carol. Love your baby.

  10. Anonymous12:51 AM

    Carol, Tamara de Lempicka (please correct spelling) is one of my favorite artists! You are so lucky to see this exhibit. Thank you so much for letting us know about it.

    Have you heard about the novel THE LAST NUDE by Ellis Avery? this is from Amazon:

    A stunning story of love, sexual obsession, treachery, and tragedy, about an artist and her most famous muse in Paris between the world wars.
    Paris, 1927. In the heady years before the crash, financiers drape their mistresses in Chanel, while expatriates flock to the avant-garde bookshop Shakespeare and Company. One day in July, a young American named Rafaela Fano gets into the car of a coolly dazzling stranger, the Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka.
    Struggling to halt a downward slide toward prostitution, Rafaela agrees to model for the artist, a dispossessed Saint Petersburg aristocrat with a murky past. The two become lovers, and Rafaela inspires Tamara's most iconic Jazz Age images, among them her most accomplished-and coveted-works of art. A season as the painter's muse teaches Rafaela some hard lessons: Tamara is a cocktail of raw hunger and glittering artifice. And all the while, their romantic idyll is threatened by history's darkening tide.
    Inspired by real events in de Lempicka's history, The Last Nude is a tour de force of historical imagination. Ellis Avery gives the reader a tantalizing window into a lost Paris, an age already vanishing as the inexorable forces of history close in on two tangled lives. Spellbinding and provocative, this is a novel about genius and craft, love and desire, regret and, most of all, hope that can transcend time and circumstance.
    Have a grand day,

  11. Anonymous1:28 AM

    My friend introduced me to Paris Breakfasts. I enjoy reading your PB blog, seeing your photos of all things Parisienne, and the mouth-watering, gorgeous patisseries, and admire your watercolors---every day. I especially like the museums and art exhibits that you feature, often introducing us to those that are unusual, off-beat and less well known. I add them to my list of things I want to do, hoping for a "next" visit to Paris.
    I congratulate your proposal for a PB weekend edition, and vote OUI, OUI, encore OUI--if you have the energy to produce an extra day of Paris Breakfasts. Bon Chance!
    Merci beaucoup and Best Wishes,

  12. Anonymous3:07 AM

    Absolutely add weekends! I will never get enough!!

  13. Looks wonderful Carol...
    You must be loving being in Paris... Have a great weekend... and yes, there can never be too much Paris Breakfast... :)

  14. Have loved Lempicka's work since I stumbled on it somewhere a few years ago. But it's not available for the viewing hardly anywhere here in the US. Tu as de la chance, chère Carol!
    And thanks for the treat of seeing so many of her paintings here in your post.


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