“My goal: never copy. Create a new style, with luminous and brilliant colors, rediscover the elegance of my models.” — Tamara de Lempicka

“I live life in the margins of society, and the rules of normal society don‘t apply to those who live on the fringe.”
— Tamara de Lempicka

Spoken like a true exile of Jewish descent.

For her birthday:

“Self Portrait in the green Bugatti”

Fascinating woman, to say the least. Just a snippet from her teen years, okay?

In 1912, her parents divorced and Maria went to live with her wealthy Aunt Stefa in St. Petersberg, Russia. When her mother remarried, she became determined to break away to a life of her own. In 1913, at the age of fifteen, while attending the opera, Maria spotted the man she became determined to marry. She promoted her campaign through her well-connected uncle and in 1916 she married Tadeusz Lempicki in St. Petersburg; a well-known ladies man, gadabout, and lawyer by title, who was tempted by the significant dowry.

In 1917, during the Russian Revolution, Tadeusz was arrested in the dead of night by the Bolsheviks. Maria searched the prisons for him and after several weeks, with the help of the Swedish consul, she secured his release. They traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark then London, England and finally to Paris, France to where Maria’s family had also escaped, along with numerous upper-class Russian refugees.

Tip of the iceberg. More here.

And still more. She’s having “a year”. Camille Paglia deserves some credit, in my eyes, for including a chapter on Lempicka in her book Glittering Images, which is how I got into her work. (From the article: “In 2020 her ‘Portrait of Marjorie Ferry,’ a jazz chanteuse, set a new auction record for the artist, fetching almost $22 million.”) So yeah. Her time is now.

Thank you so much for stopping by. If you like what I do, and if you feel inclined to support my work, here’s a link to my Venmo account. And I’ve launched a Substack, Sheila Variations 2.0, if you’d like to subscribe.

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10 Responses to “My goal: never copy. Create a new style, with luminous and brilliant colors, rediscover the elegance of my models.” — Tamara de Lempicka

  1. mutecypher says:

    Gillian Anderson needs to play her in the biopic.

  2. “Another homage to Tamara is seen in TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In 5th season, the arch-villain Glory has a copy of Tamara de Lempicka’s Irene and her sisters a.k.a. Four nudes in her living room.”

  3. gina in alabama says:

    When i saw the third down painting of the young woman/girl in knee-socks my brain said, Lolita! Love de Lempicka’s work, she crystallizes a look and a time for me.

  4. Scott Abraham says:

    I get a fetishing vibe from de Lempicka on her subjects. Immediately thought of Tom of Finland, a yang to her yin.

  5. gina in alabama says:

    I have the Green Bugatti self portrait as my FB avatar and also on my company email/webchat login. I just love having her up there surrounded by the dogs and families and golf clubs of my fellow attendees in the online meetings. She classes the place up!

  6. Bill Wolfe says:

    She looks very much like Tallulah Bankhead in that photo. That’s not surprising, come to think of it.

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