tamara de lempicka led a very glamorous life. born in poland to wealthy lawyer/socialite parents, she was educated in lausanne, switzerland and vacationed in italy and on the french riviera. she met her future husband at the opera. (of course.) after her marriage, the russian revolution took place, and her husband was snatched up by the bosheviks. through her upper-class ties, de lempicka managed to free him, whereupon they fled the country. they traveled to copenhagen, then to london, and finally to paris, where they got along by selling heirloom jewels of their families. it is also where she began to paint and gain a reputation in the bohemian art world of the 1920's.
she eventually ended up in the united states. she weathered the great depression and world war II well, meeting such prominent artists as de kooning and o'keeffe along the way. de lempicka died in cuernavaca, mexico in 1978.
i am intoxicated by stories of people traveling and going everywhere, surviving events we still talk about today, meeting these characters that make up our history. of course, de lempicka rather abandoned her family to do so. she carried on affairs with both men and women. and the lady had an attitude. in the '70s, she complained that society lacked the "breeding" that she'd been so inspired by previously.
i love these paintings because of the "soft cubism" she employs + her art deco style. her paintings border on being fashion illustrations... albeit ones that take three weeks to finish. they are full of silk and privilege, vividly rendered. they let you daydream a bit, wish that you had a silk dress or two in your closet.