‘La Belle Rafaelo’
The works of Polish Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka have always attracted me. She was a 1920s socialite and the most fashionable portrait painter of her generation. I have always really loved the Art Deco movement which probably explains why I like her work so much.
She was also, like rather many of us, profoundly drawn to same-sex relationships (even though she was married). In her lifetime she had a large number of affairs with both men and women. Even back then, taboos and social mores were thrown aside in pursuit of intense personal connection, irrespective of gender. Of course, being an upper-class bohemian artist gave her a license which the ordinary person would not have had.
Born in 1898 in Poland, she fled the Russian revolution, moving to Paris where her career would take off and her heyday would soon begin. In 1939, with war looming in Europe, she moved to America where, over time, her career began to tail off; she died in 1980. In the last few decades her work has really caught the imagination again – her pictures recalling those halcyon days of the 1920s/30s, of cruise ships, luxury, sex and sensuality.
I like her depiction of women. There are no ‘size zeros’ – the women are voluptuous and ample which, to my mind, is so much more attractive then the skinny look that so many seem to covet these days.
Her life is really quite interesting and can be read about in more detail on Wikipedia which has a good overview.
‘Femme a Colombe’
‘Adam & Eve’
‘Kizette in Red’
‘La chemme rose’
More of her pictures here.
Other artists I’ve blogged about:
Beryl Cook (‘Girls just wanna have fun’)
Jenny Saville (‘The debasement of eve’)
Zdzisław Beksiński (‘The horror, the horror’)