In the summer of 1911, she travelled to Italy with her grandmother and she was there introduced to the masterful works of the great Italian painters of the Renaissance and this sparked in her an appreciation and love for art that would stay with her throughout her life.
In 1917, after just a year of marriage, she was forced to brave the dangers and the fallout of the Russian Revolution, in order to save her husband who had been arrested and imprisoned by the Bolsheviks.
Using her beauty, charm and social connections, she managed to secure her husband’s release and the couple fled the country, eventually settling in Paris.
In Paris, she reinvented herself as Tamara de Lempicka and diligently studied art at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, her mentors being the Nabis painter Maurice Denis and the Cubist artist André Lhote.
The influences of Lempicka’s mentors are evident in her signature style; Denis’ encouragement for her to draw inspiration from the graphic arts and Lhote’s uniquely soft style of Cubism had a huge impact on her work.
It didn’t take long for Lempicka to become a renowned portrait painter with a distinctive Art Deco style. She spent the years between the wars painting portraits of many famous and prominent people including writers, artists, scientists, and even members of Eastern Europe’s exiled nobility.
Lempicka very much saw herself as one of the elite, famous and successful. Her choices of successful spouses and the celebrity portraits she painted showed her role in the glamour of the age and even after the roaring 20s.
In fact, even to this day she is well known in art collector circles and the distinctive artworks of ‘The Baroness with a brush’ hold a firm place in the art market.Find out more ...