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DE LEMPICKA by Gilles Neret

DE LEMPICKA by Gilles Neret, 2011
We recommend all Tamara de Lempicka fans the newly published Tamara de Lempicka book by the author Gilles Neret:

Author :Gilles Néret
Hardcover, 24 x 30 cm, 96 pages, ISBN 978-3-8365-3185-6 – Edition: German

Goddess of the Automobile Age

The changing aspects of femininity and masculinity

Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980) stood at the center of the sophisticated Paris art world of the 1920s and 30s. Her love for beautiful women, elegant automobiles, and the modern metropolis provided not only motifs for her pictures, but also influenced her artistic style.

Simultaneously with her career as artist, Tamara de Lempicka pioneered a new image of life on the screen, evident in the new, self-confident woman and the changing aspects of femininity and masculinity.

The same sense of style was reflected in a futuristic cult of speed, domestic design forms promulgated by the Bauhaus, and the dandyism of a George Brummell. Tamara de Lempicka's best-known painting, "Self-Portrait, or Tamara in a Green Bugatti", presents the artist as a female dandy brimming with cool elegance.

Whether as an Art-Déco artist, a post-Cubist or a Neoclasissist, de Lempicka struck the taste of a cosmopolitan (and wealthy) public that found its own image reflected in her work.

The author:

Gilles Néret (1933–2005) was an art historian, journalist, writer and museum correspondent. He organized several art retrospectives in Japan and founded the SEIBU museum and the Wildenstein Gallery in Tokyo. He directed art reviews such as L'Œil and Connaissance des Arts and received the Elie Faure Prize in 1981 for his publications. His TASCHEN titles include Salvador Dalí: The Paintings, Matisse, and Erotica Universalis.

Reference/Text from:  web: per November 2011

Tamara De Lempicka by Giancarlo Marmori, Gioia Mori

we also recomend the following book:

Gioia Mori Book References
Tamara De Lempicka by Giancarlo Marmori, Gioia Mori
ISBN 8884161371 (88-8416-137-1)
Hardcover, Abscondita

Tamara De Lempicka:
Parigi 1920-1938
by Tamara De Lempicka, Gioia Mori
ISBN 8809205251 / 9788809205253 / 88-09-20525-1
Publisher Giunti
Language Italian
Edition Hardcover

A Life of Deco and Decadence

Laura Claridge – Tamara de Lempicka: A Life of Deco and Decadence, Review

“It seemed to [Tamara] that she could have it all: respect, money, and sexual gratification on the side. She had arrived at the Gare du Nord only four years earlier, gifted with a painter’s talent and a family history of feminine power. Encountering a cultural climate that affirmed art as a remunerative career for women, she also felt freed personally by the Modernist mantra to “make it new” that underwrote every aspect – trivial and profound – of daily life.
She was determined to embody that icon of the age, the new woman”. Laura Claridge
“Every one of my paintings is a self-portrait”. Tamara de Lempicka

There are few artists who have created such a singular body of work, instantly recognisable as belonging to them, while at the same time appearing to be derivative of nothing that has come before.

Tamara de Lempicka is one such artist, a woman whose paintings are easily identifiable even by those who rarely set foot in art galleries. Recently while honeymooning in Rome, I happened to catch a retrospective of her work (ninety paintings and thirty drawings) at the Museo Vittoriano where I gazed upon De Lempicka’s paintings for the first time. The curators had organised the exhibition around the artist’s life, with large panels of text offering a brief biography and an entire wall of photographs from her personal collection featuring portraits of the artist and those closest to her. In many respects, her life was as exciting as the work and my curiosity eventually led me to Laura Claridge’s excellent biography (the only major biography of the artist) ‘Tamara de Lempicka – A Life of Deco and Decadence’.
Biographers have a difficult job piecing together the story of their subject’s life, but Claridge had a particularly hard puzzle to solve. De Lempicka, both in life and in death, had a stranglehold on the details of her legacy and is the principal creator of a large mythology surrounding her life and work. She systematically destroyed documentation contradicting her version of events, so that even rudimentary details such as where she was born and what year were difficult to verify and had to be shored-up with evidence from other sources. Claridge, through meticulous research, has managed to piece together the artist’s life by detailed eye witness accounts from family and friends, exhibition catalogues, news items, historical documents, letters, and interviews the artists gave when she was alive. It is an incredible feat when so many have lamented how little information there is available on the artist. De Lempicka is made vividly alive through Claridge’s concise, unsentimental prose. The ‘woman’ is not missing in this piecemeal approach – her interior life is provided by considered speculation and shrewd analysis of the paintings through which she conveyed herself.

The story of her life is as fascinating as her art; she was born into the minor nobility in Russia by a Polish mother and Russian father (she is often, mistakenly, thought to be Polish – one of many myths she perpetuated throughout her life). She was both willful and strong-minded and displayed an interest in art from an early age. She married young and gave birth to her only child Kizette while living in St. Petersburg. Forced to leave the city as a refugee during the Soviet Revolution in the most horrific circumstances (which marked her for the rest of life) she fled to Paris where, through financial necessity more than artistic vocation, she learned to paint and started to exhibit and sell her work. She was taught by André Lhote (whose work she is largely indebted to) and was inspired by other contemporary female artists of the time, such as Suzanne Valadon and Marie Laurencin. She quickly earned a name for herself in the art world as she enjoyed high society, decadent living, and debauchery during the brief interim of the war years. Indeed, her art and her name have become synonymous with the roaring twenties and the Art Deco movement.

When her first marriage failed, she married a Hungarian baron and was afterwards known as Baroness Kuffner. The advent of World War Two made it impossible to stay in France so they moved to America, first to Los Angeles, then to New York. De Lempicka was never able to replicate the success she experienced in the early days of her career in Paris and despite a small number of exhibitions of her work, she was largely ignored in America. The art world had moved on from the figurative, anachronistic paintings she produced, instead worshiping the abstracts of de Kooning and Pollock. De Lempicka spent most of these years in a kind of artistic exile, producing work which had radically evolved from her early paintings but still never able to crack the contemporary art market. When she attended the Venice Biennale in the sixties she realised with shock how irrelevant she had become and produced little of note afterwards. Her life was dedicated to dominating her daughter’s family and traveling extensively. She died in 1980, only a few years before her rehabilitation as one of the most important figurative painters of the twentieth century.

Claridge’s book, first published in 1999, has played a significant role in this rehabilitation, as well as celebrity collectors of her work – Madonna, Jack Nicholson, Angelica Houston, and Barbra Streisand. But there has also been a critical reassessment of her paintings – her technical virtuosity, her debt to the quattrocentro style of painting, her importance as a figure painter, her geometric vocabulary instructed by Cubism, and her representation of the ‘modern woman’. For not only did De Lempicka paint portraits of modern women, she lived like one herself. Her contemporaries – Chanel, Colette, Simone de Beauvoir, Wallis Simpson, Eva Peron, Rebecca West, Anaïs Nin, and H.D. – all embodied these qualities, just as the women who would follow – Catherine Deneuve, Jeanne Moreau, Madonna, Courtney Love, and Tracey Emin. De Lempicka was a woman whose work could not be separated from her life, a woman whose vision of herself was inseparable from the paintings. She redefined what it meant to be a woman and an artist and her original paintings are her legacy.