Tamara de Lempicka was an enigmatic person and a fantastic Art Deco artist.
Tamara de Lempicka was born Maria Gorska. Perhaps in Poland, perhaps in Russia, perhaps in 1898, perhaps in 1899… but her life is full of mysteries. What elegant life is not full of them? After her mother and father divorced, her wealthy grandmother spoiled her with clothes and travel and by age 14, she was attending school in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Soon after the beginning of the First World War, Tamara fell in love with the most handsome lawyer in Warsaw, Taduesz Lempicki and they were married in St. Petersburg two years later. But Taduesz was soon arrested by the Bolsheviks and the beautiful and young Tamara had to use her charms with several officials to save him. The couple fled to Paris and that is when the real story of Tamara De Lempicka started.
She divorced Taduesz and married Baron Raoul Kuffner. Hard-worker, she became a well-known portrait artist with a distinctive Art Deco manner. In fact, Art Deco was part of an exotic and glamourous Paris which suited very well with her personality.
Between the wars, she painted portraits of writers, artists, scientists, industrialists, and many of Eastern Europe exiled nobility (and according with her daughter, with many of them she slept. Both, women and men).
At the threat of a Second World War, she left Paris for Beverly Hills and she became the Favorite Artist of the Hollywood Stars, living in the house of director King Vidor.
In 1943, the Baron and Tamara moved to New York City, to a stunning apartment at 322 East 57th Street which she decorated in a personal Deco style with Baroque and Rococo touches.
Then, friends asked her to decorate apartments in New York with her individual touch… Life was fantastic! She returned to Paris and she was a success on both sides of the ocean.
In the 60s everything changed. The Baron died, she began painting with a palette knife, much in vogue at the time and knowing her moment had passed. The failure of her exhibition in 1962 in the Iolas Gallery in NY confirmed it.
Forgotten, she continued painting. In 1978, she moved to Cuernavaca in Mexico permanently. She despaired of growing old and in her last years sought the company of young people while Art Deco and some retrospective exhibitions of her work gave her some joys.
She died in 1980 and her wish to be cremated and have her ashes spread on the top of the volcano Popocatepetl was carried out… Yes, peculiar and mysterious until her last wish.