Lublin exhibition of works by Tamara Łempicka

Tamara Łempicka, “Kizette on the Balcony”, 1927, photo Press materials

– Tamara is coming home – says Marisa de Lempicka, the granddaughter of the famous artist, who participated in the exhibition “Tamara Łempicka – a woman on a journey”, which will be on display at the National Museum in Lublin until August 14, 2022. . She tells the story of an artist who created her image – an independent and modern woman of success, a symbol of her time, the queen of art deco.

He was born in Warsaw in 1893, 1896, 1898, 1903 or 1906. Or maybe in Moscow or St. Petersburg? Image maker Tamara Łempicka was able to tell everyone a different version of events. His story is believed to have begun in 1898. Some events to keep in mind may indicate that the date given for the deduction of years is too late. And this is just the beginning of the stories written in the early 20th century with the enthusiastic imagination of an artist who is well aware of the advantages of a well-established personal brand. As a result, he gained his hearing and, consequently, his career and real wealth. Did the publisher of the German magazine Die Dame order him to appear on the cover just because he saw him driving a green bugatti in front of a hotel in Monte Carlo? So beautiful, dignified, rich and outdated, modern? Lempicka never owned a green Bugatti.

Tamara Łempicka, “Young girl in a green dress”, 1927–1930, Photo Press materials

Simulations, stories, little lies by Tamara Łempicka

– There are no miracles, you only create yourself Tamara would say. And it seemed to guide his life. Including his date of birth in the timeline is not the only problem with ickempicka. Although he claims to have been born in Warsaw all his life, all indications are that he was born in Moscow. He was born Maria (or Rosalia) Gurwik-Górska. He grew up in a wealthy Jewish merchant family between Warsaw, Moscow and St. Petersburg. Father Borys Gurwik-Górski left his family when Tamara was a little girl and most likely committed suicide. The artist will claim that his parents are divorced and living apart. Also, in the early 20th century, it was an expression of almost incredible modernity. In Warsaw, he spent time with his maternal grandmother and grandmother Malvina’s grandmother Deckler. Bernard and Clementine Deckler belonged to the social and cultural elite, and were friends with Ignacio Jan Paderewski and Arthur Rubinstein. Therefore, Tamara grew up surrounded by intellectuals, cultural figures and, as I like to emphasize, aristocrats. Although this, as the Varsavianists claimed, was part of his work. Although the merchant families were rich at that time, they could not meet the real aristocracy.

When he simulated an illness in 1907, he began to use his tricks when he realized that he would send him on vacation to Italy to improve his family’s health. There he admired the paintings of the Renaissance masters. Due to his health, he had to move to a school in Lausanne. He liked to play. When the mother invited the artist to take home a portrait of her children, Tamara saw that the work was over and decided that she could paint it better. As he said, he did.

Tamara Łempicka, “St. Moritz”, 1929, photo Press materials

Łempicka: Master of illusions with gases sliding on the ground

After the death of her grandparents, Tamara moved to her rich uncle in Moscow. It was there, in the Hard House, that he learned what true luxury and wealth were. When she saw the sapphires, emeralds and diamonds in boxes in her aunt’s wardrobe, she decided that they were symbols of her prosperous life. He still had to find a suitable group. At one of the lavish receptions, his eyes fell on the very handsome Tadeusz ickempicky. The young lawyer, the nephew of Kamil Norvid of Cyprus, was surrounded by beautiful women. He became famous as a playboy. Tamara knew she had to be chosen to trap him. She liked to emphasize how many people praised her perfect beauty (this thesis is often confirmed by her mistake with Greta Garbo). But the truth is that she was not a classic beauty. But he was a master of illusions. With her perfect make-up, proper hairstyle, dress, as well as her demeanor, delicacy and self-confidence, she made an exciting impression. Tadeusz saw him wearing a shepherd’s robe at a decorated honeymoon, bringing it with two gauze guides guided over the ribbons. The animals crawled on the polished floor, making the aristocracy and high-ranking people laugh out loud. A few minutes later, Tamara and Tadeusz got married, and the bride’s wedding was accompanied by a train from the altar to the entrance of the church. The couple moved to St. Petersburg and lived a fairy-tale life. Idilism ended in 1917 with the Bolshevik Revolution. While the Łempicki family was enjoying themselves, the police beat their house and took Tadeus naked. At that time, the greatest enemy of the revolutionaries was the Russian elite, and he could only go to prison for having a bank account. Tamara asked for help from the Swedish consul to save her husband, who agreed to help, provided that Lempichka spent the night with him. – It is difficult to be a woman in this world. You have to use your body and have sex to survive Then he would say.

Tamara Łempicka, “Portrait of Tadeusz Łempickin”, 1928, photo Press materials

Legendary parties in Paris: Dishes made from women’s naked bodies

The icempicki family fled to France to start a new life in the capital. All their property remained in Russia, so they had to build everything from scratch. Tamara’s sister, Adrianna Gurwik-Górska, one of the first certified architects in France, offered Łempicka a return to painting. So he began looking for commissions for portraits, while at the same time delving deeper into the Paris cream. After leaving the Russian prison, Tadeusz cast a shadow over himself, but Tamara gradually began to enjoy extramarital affairs. During the day, he attended classes in the workshop of Cubist artist André Lhote to study the evenings of Paris nightlife in the 1920s, which was no exaggeration. Until the morning, the festivities were loud, spilled with alcohol and spicy with heavy drugs, often reminiscent of orgies. Nobody cared who he went with and with whom. Tamara left the bars and clubs that looked like a hotel room destroyed by a group of rock ‘n’ roll bands after a party in the morning. The clothes left on the dance floor were torn from the floor, which was sticky with sweet cocktails. Tamara was not interested in her husband and daughter Maria Christina waiting for her at home. The 1920s were a time of freedom, eccentricity and ecstasy, and Łempicka became their symbol.

Tamara Łempicka, “First Union”, 1929, photo Press materials

Ickempicka quickly realized that the modern world is fed by scandal. Thus, he spoke openly about his love affair with both sexes. The longest of them, which lasted almost 10 years, he posed for portraits with model Ira Perrot. She began to create a liberated glamorous image that goes to fashionable restaurants, shows herself around famous artists and loves to have fun. In Paris, she became the queen of the legendary festivities – in one of them the food was served only by girls wearing feathers glued to their hair, in another the guests had to eat directly from the naked bodies of women, not from a knife. dishes were lined up on it. Tamara’s art was also dripping with eroticism, which, like the artist herself, quickly gained international fame and became an example of art deco painting. His work was first exhibited at the Salon d’Automne in 1922 with the help of Sister Adrianna, who was on the commission that selected the works to be accepted. Tamara’s work was welcomed. Since 1927, “Beautiful Raphael” is sometimes considered the most important act of the 20th century, “Self-portrait in a green Bugatti” – one of the leading art-deco paintings, showing a completely new and very modern perspective. The photo actually appeared on the cover of Die Dame magazine, but it is not true that the magazine’s publisher ordered it after meeting the artist in Monte Carlo. Tamara has been working with the magazine for some time, and the cover was an ordinary order. In fact, Łempicka drove a canary yellow Renault and liked to wear the color of his car. Fashion was extremely important to him – it was used to create an image. The Queen of Art Deco, as she is called in Paris, is famous for her bold, modern paintings inspired by the Renaissance, Cubism and Mannerism. He showed influential members of the elite against the backdrop of industry. He soon became a real celebrity. The designers wanted her to wear her latest creations. In the photos, she posed for Marcela Rocha, Coco Chanel and Paul Poirier.

Başempicka’s “Chief Mother” was admired by Salvador Dali

Tamara wanted to succeed and gain wealth at any cost. By the time he was thirty (although the age issue was controversial in his case), he had to earn a million dollars from his paintings. In Paris, she called herself Tamara de Lempicka, which was a confirmation of the aristocratic origin she had always dreamed of. The search for freedom and Łempicka’s light-heartedness came at a price – the dissolution of the marriage. Tadeusz could no longer observe his wife’s movements. She filed for divorce and returned to Warsaw. It was then that one of the artist’s most famous paintings, “Portrait of Tadeusz Łempicki” (“Portrait of Tadeusz Łempicki”), was created without the help of her ex-husband. Tamara left only one outline of it. It was no coincidence that the wedding ring should be visible from the left.

After divorcing Tadeusz and separating from Ira, Tamara, who was heartbroken, decided to live in a monastery, where she began working on an excellent portrait of a nun named “Mother”. The painting was later applauded by Parisian creamers, including Salvador Dali. In 1933, Tamara remarried Baron Raul Kuffner, the heir to the Austrian brewing empire, which owned one of the largest estates in Europe. As a baroness, she moved to Hollywood during World War II, where she wanted to pay for the company with a lavish banquet hosted by the artist’s Polish bigos. Although the grandeur of the art deco came to an end during the war years, and the world slowly forgot de Łempica, Tamara continued to paint for the rest of her life. According to Laura Claric, author of Tamara ickempicka, Art and Scandal, the artist was a woman of difficult age. He can be lowly and arrogant. He spoke many languages, mainly English, Spanish, French, and Polish, and even confused them in one statement. Towards the end of his life, he claimed to be Polish and was offended when someone told him he could be Russian. According to the artist’s wish, after his death in 1980, Tamara’s ashes were sprinkled on Popocatépetl volcano in Mexico, which can be seen from the window. He spent the last years of his life in Cuernavaca. To this day, he remains one of Poland’s most famous and influential artists. In 2020, Łempicka’s “Portrait of Marjorie Ferry” sold for 82 million zlotys, becoming the most expensive Polish painting in history. Although he was not born in the highest class, he died as an aristocrat, because, as he said earlier, “beginnings do not count until the end is good.”

“Tamara Łempicka – a woman on the road”, an exhibition at the National Museum of Lublin, open until August 14, 2022; https://zamek-lublin.pl

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