Sunday, February 25, 2007

Artist of the Month: Tamara de Lempicka

Being a bit pre-emptive now since its not March yet, but in light of my current web surfing with regards to the 1936 period, I reckon its a good idea to add a post about Tamara de Lempicka who was a famous artist of the time, and is one of my all time favourite 'fine artist's'. Its sort of necessary to understand that I do not like most 'fine art' which is why I make the distinction. Most of the artists whose work I admire are commercial artists and are not apt to be included the annals of art history. For Tamara de Lempicka, like Paula Rego, I make an exception. This is because she is primarily a figurative artist with a very pronounced style that appeals to my sense of style, but also because she is an historical reference to my interest in the visual style of the 1930's.

There is probably no other painter of the period who emodied the Art Deco style in their painting as thoroughly and successfully as de Lampicka did. Certainly not any one who made a reputation based on its lines that I am aware of. She captures the post cubist tradition perfectly and invariably uses the grey city motif in the back ground to hammer home the message. These pictures belonged to a metropolitan future that looked set to go on for ever in the 1930's. Today the style looks incredibly retro of course and its probably the vitality of de Lempicka's line and use of colour thats saved her from the obscurity which has long since taken over Art Deco's other prominent artists... that and the love of retro that has taken hold of so many people in the 21st century.

There is an unmistakable element of the erotic in de Lempicka's work as well and though this ought to be at odds with the otherwise austere Art Deco style, I think it works rather well. De Lempicka was bi-sexual so I suppose she was just following her nature, but its noticable all the same that her male figures are nearly always fully clothed and quite stiff where as her female's figures are nearly always sensual and far more colourful.

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