Record-breaking Lempicka In November last year, the most expensive work by a Polish artist was the oil “La Tunique Rose” by Tamara Lempicka, depicting a lying woman in a red tunic. It was sold at auction at Sotheby’s New York for $ 13.4 million. This is another record that history adds to Lempicka’s output. Exactly a year ago, in November 2018, at Christie’s auction house in New York, a 1929 painting by Polish artist “La Musicienne” was sold for a record amount of over $ 9,087,500. Currently, the most expensive painting in the world is still “Salvator Mundi” (“Savior of the World”), considered to be the work of Leonardo da Vinci. In November 2017, $ 450 million was paid for a 66 cm x 45 cm canvas, and buyers were not deterred by doubts about its authorship. Tamara Lempicka – who is the painter who broke the sales record?
Tamara Lempicka is one of the most famous painters, an icon of pre-war bohemia and a symbol of liberated femininity. Her real name was Maria Gurwik-Gorska, and she was known for her paintings painted in accordance with the principles of art deco.
Characteristic for her work were cubic, simple forms, saturated colours and a smooth surface of the canvas. She was born at the end of the 19th century in Moscow as the daughter of a Polish woman and a Russian Jew, but she emphasized all her life that she felt Polish. After the October Revolution, she emigrated to Paris, where she learned to paint herself. When the fascists came to power in Europe in the 1930s, she emigrated overseas, where after World War II she became a popular portraitist of Hollywood stars and a salon frequenter. Her most famous oil paintings include “Adam and Eve” or “Tamara in a green Bugatti”. Interestingly, in the declining period of her work, Lempicka became interested in a contemporary painting of an expressionist character and began to create monochrome works in shades of brown, but they were not well received by the critics, so the famous Polish painter gave up on exhibiting them.
Painting sourced from: La Tunique Rose, Tamara Lempicka, 1927 rok ( fot. Sotheby’s)
Story by Kamila Krzyzaniak