Tamara de Lempicka

La Belle Rafaela – Tamara de Lempicka 1927

Lempicka became the leading representative of the Art Deco style across two continents, a favourite artist of many Hollywood stars, referred to as ‘the baroness with a brush’. She was the most fashionable portrait painter of her generation among the haute bourgeoisie and aristocracy, painting duchesses and grand dukes and socialites.

In Paris during the Roaring Twenties, Tamara de Lempicka became part of the bohemian life: she knew Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, and André Gide. Famous for her libido, she was bisexual. Her affairs with both men and women were conducted in ways that were considered scandalous at the time. She often used formal and narrative elements in her portraits, and her nude studies produced overpowering effects of desire and seduction.

In the 1920s she became closely associated with lesbian and bisexual women in writing and artistic circles, such as Violet Trefusis, Vita Sackville-West, and Colette.

She also became involved with Suzy Solidor, a night club singer at the Boîte de Nuit, whose portrait she later painted. Her husband eventually tired of their arrangement and abandoned her in 1927. They were divorced in 1931 in Paris. (Read more)