Tamara de Lempicka: Still and ringing

Tamara de Lempicka, the prominent exponent of Art Deco painting in the 1920s, combined disparate elements of her early oeuvre into her later work as illustrated by her Chambre d’Hôtel, painted around 1951 which is to be sold in the Modern Art sale on 29 November 2022.

Tamara de Lempicka is considered one of the most successful women in art history. After the October Revolution, the Polish-born artist fled from St. Petersburg to Paris, where her rise to fame took off. De Lempicka frequented the cafés of the French capital, where she met numerous personalities such as Georges Braque and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. Her paintings have a strong visual impact, characterised by deconstructed, volumetric forms in which the influences of naturalistic cubism and the harmony of Italian Mannerism shine through. Much of her work depicts portraits of personalities who populated the salons she frequented. The sitters bear real features and are at the same time symbolic figures, elegant and adorned with the wealth of the beautiful society in which they lived. The artist’s many self-portraits also testify to her joyful response to life and pleasure. The cool, smooth painting style evokes theatricality, the sitters appear sculptural and monumental, the petrified gaze hides any hint of humanity. 

Tamara de Lempicka, Chambre d’hôtel, um 1951 Öl auf Leinwand, 56 x 48 cm Schätzwert € 150.000 – 200.000
Tamara de Lempicka
Chambre d’Hôtel, c. 1951
oil on canvas, 56 x 48 cm
estimate € 150,000 – 200,000

After travelling in America and years of success, de Lempicka experienced what she herself called an “artist’s depression”. The constant pressure to produce something and to meet the expectations of those around her led to the exhaustion and draining of her creativity. From about 1930 onwards, de Lempicka took a different path, her work beginning to take on a more meditative, almost religious character. Her technique also approached a hyperrealist and surrealist model, as can be seen in the painting Chambre d’Hôtel, which was created in America, where de Lempicka found a new home after fleeing from the Nazis: The study of a room presents itself as simultaneously quiet and deafeningly loud. There are no faces, as in her earlier works, but there is space for a less constructed structure, less broken in form, but much more rigid in its visual effect. One sees a section of a hotel room in which a mirror further enlarges the space and creates a kind of passageway within it. The composition is more thoughtful, almost narrative, no longer smothered by the frame but continuing and foreshadowing the wider context. 

Information: Alessandro Rizzi, Specialist for Modern and Contemporary Art


Modern Art, 29 November 2022, 6 p.m.
Palais Dorotheum, Dorotheergasse 17, 1010 Vienna

Tel. +43-1-515 60-358, 386

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