Studio Visit Book Vol. 1

How Tamara de Lempicka became the queen of Art Deco in 19th century

Art history is full of the stories of countless women artists. Yet, it’s a story that has often been dominated by male narratives, leaving the extraordinary contributions of women artists in the shadows. However, these women have not just shaped the contours of art; they’ve revolutionized it, breathing life into every stroke and color. Today, in our art history section we celebrate one such phenomenal woman who, with her brush, painted a world of glamour, defiance, and power. A woman who stood as a beacon of hope, resilience, and creativity in a male-dominated world.

Born as Maria Gorska in Warsaw, Poland in 1898, Tamara de Lempicka was no stranger to a life of privilege and upheaval. Despite the challenges thrown her way, she rose like a phoenix, transforming herself from a refugee of the Russian Revolution to an icon of the Roaring Twenties and a shining star in the world of art. With a paintbrush in her hand and a dream in her heart, she carved her own path, leaving an indelible mark on the world of art and beyond.

Exploring the layers of Tamara’s life and work is like going on an exciting journey through the world of Art Deco, filled with bold shapes, vivid colors, and a touch of glamorous and sensual. It’s a journey that reveals the power of resilience, the beauty of self-expression, and the endless possibilities that come when one dares to challenge the status quo.

The Early Life of Tamara de Lempicka

Born as Maria Gorska in Warsaw, Poland in 1898, Tamara de Lempicka was exposed to a life of both privilege and turmoil. She grew up in an affluent family, surrounded by the luxuries of the time, including lavish parties, exquisite art, and the vibrant cultural scene of Warsaw. However, her idyllic upbringing was abruptly interrupted by her parents’ acrimonious divorce, which left a lasting impact on her young mind.

As if the personal upheaval wasn’t enough, the winds of change swept across her homeland with the Russian Revolution. This brought about significant societal and political transformations, leaving an indelible mark on the lives of countless individuals, including Tamara de Lempicka. The revolution’s aftermath, with its shifting power dynamics and ideological shifts, added another layer of complexity to her already tumultuous journey.

Amidst this backdrop of uncertainty and change, Tamara de Lempicka discovered her passion for art and quickly developed her own distinctive style. Her works, characterized by bold colors, sharp lines, and a unique blend of classicism and modernism, captured the spirit of the time and established her as a prominent artist of the Art Deco movement.

Through her art, Tamara de Lempicka not only expressed her own experiences and emotions but also reflected the broader cultural shifts and social dynamics of the era. Her paintings became a visual representation of the complexities of life, love, and identity in a rapidly changing world.

The Dream, 1927

How did Paris transform her life?

In 1918, following the Bolshevik Revolution, Tamara, a talented and ambitious artist, embarked on a life-altering journey alongside her husband and daughter. Driven by their shared passion for art and a desire for new opportunities, they boldly decided to relocate to the vibrant city of Paris. With its renowned reputation as a hub of creativity and creative expression, Paris beckoned to them with promises of inspiration and growth.

As they settled into their new home, the City of Light revealed its enchanting allure. Tamara, captivated by the city’s rich creative heritage, felt an undeniable pull towards her true calling as a painter.

Immersed in Paris’s atmosphere, Tamara eagerly sought to refine her skills and expand her creative horizons. She found herself drawn to the prestigious Académie de la Grande Chaumière, a renowned institution that had nurtured the talents of countless artists. Within the hallowed halls of the academy, she delved deep into her studies, guided by esteemed mentors and surrounded by fellow visionaries.

Tamara’s creative journey was fueled by a profound admiration for the timeless masterpieces of Italian Renaissance painters, whose works left an indelible mark on art history. Their attention to detail, mastery of form, and ability to evoke emotions resonated deeply within her. Simultaneously, she found herself captivated by the groundbreaking works of contemporary avant-garde artists, who pushed the boundaries of traditional norms and challenged conventional thinking.

With each stroke of the brush and every color meticulously chosen, Tamara’s creative prowess soared to new heights. The harmonious blend of classical techniques and innovative approaches became her signature style, a unique fusion of the old and the new. Her paintings breathed life into the canvas, telling stories of love, passion, and the human experience.

Tamara’s relentless pursuit of creative greatness propelled her forward, as she faced the challenges and triumphs along her path. Paris became her muse, fueling her creativity and igniting her imagination. With each passing day, she grew into a luminary of the art world, leaving an indelible mark on the canvas of history.

La Dormeuse, 1930

How she became The Queen of Art Deco

Tamara de Lempicka, a prominent artist of the Art Deco movement, is known for her distinctive style characterized by boldness, polished aesthetics, and an opulent ambiance. Her artworks beautifully combine elements of classical styles with the industrial and geometric forms of Cubism and Futurism, resulting in a captivating fusion of Italian Renaissance softness and avant-garde modernity.

Lempicka’s expertise in elegant and stylized portraiture shines through her captivating depictions of aristocrats, socialites, and intellectuals. With an unapologetic touch, she also ventured into the realm of provocative nudes, adding a sensual dimension to her body of work. Each piece she created was a true reflection of the glamorous and modern era in which she thrived, asserting her status as a groundbreaking artist who pushed boundaries and captivated audiences with her unique vision.

The Musician, 1929

Successes and Recognition: A Woman Ahead of Her Time

Tamara de Lempicka’s career trajectory was marked by determination and remarkable success. In the vibrant 1920s and 1930s, her captivating artwork graced the walls of renowned galleries across Europe and America, captivating audiences with its boldness and sophistication. Even amidst the challenging economic climate of the Great Depression, Lempicka’s journey continued to flourish, true evidence of her exceptional talent, unyielding tenacity, and astute business acumen.

Her paintings, with their distinct style and striking compositions, were highly sought after by discerning collectors and wealthy patrons, who recognized the unique allure of her art. Not only did Lempicka achieve remarkable commercial success, but she also garnered widespread critical acclaim for her innovative approach and masterful technique. Beyond her creative prowess, she possessed an unparalleled ability to market herself and her creations, captivating the attention of high-profile personalities and art enthusiasts alike.

In addition to her creative achievements, Lempicka’s extravagant parties became the talk of the town, further cementing her status as a prominent figure in the art world. Her magnetic presence and association with influential individuals added an extra layer of allure to her already captivating persona. With each brushstroke and every carefully crafted social appearance, Lempicka left an indelible mark on the art scene, solidifying her position as a true trailblazer and a woman ahead of her time.

The Legacy of Tamara de Lempicka

Tamara de Lempicka, a legendary artist whose legacy transcends time, has left an indelible mark on the art world. Renowned for her bold and audacious style, she became an emblem of female empowerment in a male-dominated era. Even today, her mesmerizing artwork continues to captivate audiences worldwide, gracing the walls of esteemed galleries and commanding remarkable prices at prestigious auctions.

Among her extensive body of work, her largest collection of oil painting reproductions stands as a testament to her enduring popularity and creative prowess. Notably, the iconic pop star Madonna counts herself as one of Tamara’s most ardent collectors and admirers, finding a profound connection between the daring life of Lempicka and her own creative journey.

Tamara de Lempicka’s art and larger-than-life persona continue to inspire and fascinate, captivating the hearts and minds of art enthusiasts around the globe. Her enduring influence serves as a reminder of the power of creative expression and the ability to challenge societal norms through creativity.

Adam and Eve, 1932

Lessons from Tamara de Lempicka for the Next Generation of Artists

Tamara de Lempicka’s life and work offer invaluable lessons for the next generation of artists. Her unwavering commitment to her unique creative vision, despite societal norms and expectations, is a powerful reminder to stay true to one’s creative instincts. She defied convention and forged her own path in the art world through her bold brushstrokes and distinctive art style.

As a trailblazer in a male-dominated industry, Lempicka’s resilience and determination serve as a testament to the importance of tenacity and self-belief. She fearlessly challenged the status quo, overcoming obstacles and carving a niche for herself in a competitive world. Her courage to break norms and her unwavering dedication to her craft continues to inspire and empower aspiring artists today.

Studying Lempicka’s life and work allows artists to explore her creative journey, gaining insights into her creative process and the challenges she faced. From her use of color and composition to her ability to capture the essence of her subjects, Lempicka’s art inspires aspiring artists to develop their skills and find their unique voices.

In summary, Tamara de Lempicka’s life serves as a beacon of inspiration for the next generation of artists. Her extraordinary talent, coupled with her courage and resilience, reminds us of the transformative power of art and the importance of staying true to oneself in the pursuit of creative expression.

Celebrating Tamara de Lempicka

As we celebrate the phenomenal women who have shaped the art world, let us remember Tamara de Lempicka – a woman who dared to be different, who painted with passion, and who lived with gusto. She was not just a pioneer in the world of art; she was a pioneer in the world of life. Her legacy continues to inspire artists around the world, reminding us all of the power of authenticity, courage, and creativity.


If Tamara’s story fascinated you and made you want more inspiring tales from art history, check out our Art History section. Every week, we explore the lives of amazing women artists and their incredible journeys. Their stories will help you find your way in the art world as well.

With this, I will take my leave and will see you with the next story of an amazing women artist very soon. Till then, take care and goodbye.

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