VILLAGE ITALIEN
VILLE ITALIENNEVILLAGE ITALIEN
Tamara de Lempicka
WARSAW 1898 - 1980 GUERNAVACA
VILLAGE ITALIEN
1926
PENCIL ON PAPER
SIGNED AT LOWER RIGHT “T. LEMPICKA“
15.8 X 8.9 CM
PROVENANCE

BARRY FRIEDMANN GALLERY, NEW YORK


PRIVATE COLLECTION, NETHERLANDS


 

LITERATURE

CATALOGUE RAISONNÉ 1921-1979, ALAIN BLONDEL, NO. A 98


 

Born in 1898 to an upper-class family in Warsaw, the pain- ter Tamara de Lempicka grew up in St Petersburg, where in 1916 she married Count Lempicki. In 1919 the couple fled Russia on account of the revolution and went to Paris. In the pulsing French metropolis she studied painting under Maurice Denis, and later André Lhote.1 Prominent though they were, these two painters kept their distance from the artistic experiments being carried out by some of their contemporaries, instead propagating a renewal of figurative art, an approach that would leave a permanent mark on Tempicka’s oeuvre. As an “icon of art déco”, she had her finger on the pulse of the Parisian haute monde; she already enjoyed immense success within her lifetime and can be regarded on a par with the great figures of twentieth-century art. In her often decadent oeuvre, she concentrated primarily on opulent portraiture sparsely interspersed with a few still lifes and cityscapes all the more delicate in character. Her stylistic language occupies a place all its own between post-Cubism and Neoclassicism, while we also encounter the legacy of the French painter and draughtsman Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres in her oeuvre.


Tamara de Lempicka was unparalleled in her ability to capture the spirit of her time. In her aesthetic paintings, she recorded the cool elegance and subtle decadence of that exciting era. The charming works featured here likewise reflect the great virtuosity of this fascinating artist and her unique lifework. Whereas the two architectonic compositions convey a certain rigour in their geometry and cubature, the subtle blurs and extraordinarily fine details testify to the charming sensitivity of Lempicka’s works. The extraordinary aura radiated by the portrait study of a man is accounted for by the subject’s gaze. The pose of the head and direction of the eyes create an attitude and mysterious mood often found in Tempicka’s works – and only there. The eye studies on the same sheet, with their dark make-up and distinctive eyebrows, cast the eyes as protagonists in a staging which puts the disconcerting beauty of the artist’s subjects in the limelight.