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Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Famous Polish People: Tamara de Lempicka: Art Deco Icon and Proto-feminist Artist

Good day all you lovely people!

As I was opening up my computer today, I saw the Google Doodle of the day: Tamara de Lempicka, and I realised that I've never told you anything about this remarkable woman. Tamara de Lempicka (born Maria Gorska) was born on the 16th of May 1898 and lived until 18th March 1980. She would have been 120 years old today, and as Google wrote "she developed her distinct style in the Art Deco era". She is known for capturing the true spirit of the "Roaring 20's" and here are some facts about her that you might like to know:
Tamara Autoportrait - Tamara in the Green Bugatti
  1. She was born in Warsaw but she briefly moved to Saint Petersburg, where she married a prominent Polish lawyer and then travelled to Paris. 
  2. Some people state that she is Russian due to the fact that her father was Boris Gurwik-Gorski, a Russian Jewish attorney. But wait... her mother was Malwina Decker, a Polish socialite who lived most of her life abroad and actually met her husband abroad, in a spa! 
  3. When she was 10 and she was required to sit still for a commissoned portrait, she hated posing and she did not like the final result. She took the pastels and asked her sister to pose - this was her first portrait that she created.
    Tamara de Lempicka
  4. Tamara studied painting and her style was a blend of refined cubism and neoclassical style, but her love for art and paintings was kindled on a tour of Italy - 1911.
  5. Her breakthrough came in 1925 when the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts - later gave it's name to the style (as we know it today) Art Deco.
  6. In 1927 she won her first major award: 1st prize at the Exposition Internationale des Beaux Arts in Bordeaux, for her portrait "Kizette on the Balcony".
    Kizette, the daughter, painted by Tamara
  7. In 1929 another portrait of Kizette (her only daughter), at her first communion, won a bronze medal at the International exposition in Poznan, Poland - her homeland :)
  8. In 1928 she became the mistress of Baron Raoul Kuffner (a wealthy art collector). After the death of his wife (1933), the Baron married Lempicka in 1934. Thereafter she was named (by the press) "The Baroness with a Brush".
  9. Lempicka's career reached its peak in the 1930's, when she was commissioned to paint the portraits of King Alfonso XIII of Spain and Queen Elizabeth of Greece. 
  10. In 1974 she moved to Cuernavaca, Mexico. She died in her sleep on 18th March 1980. At her request, her ashes were scattered over the Popocatapetl volcano (in Mexico). 
#DidYouKnow that Madonna is an admirer and collector of Lempicka's work? She even lent paintings to events and museums. She has featured Lempicka's work in her music videos (Open Your Heart, Express Yourself, Vogue and Drowned World/Substitute for Love). Other fans are Jack Nicholson and Barbra Streisand - they also collect her work. 

"I live life in the margins of society, and the rules of normal society don't apply to those who live on the fringe" - Tamara de Lempicka 

Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves History 

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