Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Brilliance of Tamara de Lempicka (1898 - 1980)

Have you ever looked at a piece of artwork that made your heart beat so fast that you felt like you were going to faint? Have you ever looked at a piece that, literally, took your breath away?

Tamara De Lempicka's artwork does it for me.

I discovered her when I was about 19, and every time I rediscover her I get that same intense feeling. Pow! She mixes classical realist figurative painting with a little cubism, a dash of surrealism and a whole lot of class to create the most heavenly pieces. They make me salivate, they're so good.

Her artwork evokes an era and class that fantasies are made of as well as a sophisticated sensuality that would turn a fashion-head like me white with admiration (can you turn white from admiration? If you could, that's what would happen). I can definitely see the influence of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, another brilliant artist I'm currently studying. More on him later . . .

De Lempicka loved the figure. She loved luxury and extravagance. Her women are full figured and sensual, their fabrics flowing and soft. The men are strong, handsome and masculine. So sexy. So sensual.

While her style is definitely unique and the bulk of her paintings are how I've described, every now and then she threw in a few still lifes and portraits of people living a much harder life than her. The difference between her regular aristocratic work and her portraits of 'real' people is interesting in itself. I find the 'real people' painting much harder and colder in quality. Still masterpieces, though.

Visit The Tamara De Lempicka Virtual Gallery to experience her brilliance.

Below is De Limpicka's self portrait entitled Self-Portrait in the Green Bugatti. This is one of her most famous paintings.

I also love the photos of her. The photographed portraits of her evoke the fantasy life she lived, just like her paintings. I love it when the photos of artists look like one of their paintings come to life!

Photo of Tamara de Lempicka

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