Image: Google Doodle, Tamara de Lempicka’s 120th Birthday (May 16, 2018)
Dear. Ms. Lempicka,
Please forgive me for such a delayed correspondence, The Atelier is bustling with activity! Regardless, wishing you the happiest of birthdays yet! One hundred twenty!? My, my, my, oh how time flies!
Last Wednesday, I found myself at the Municipal House, Français Soixante Quinze (French 75) in hand, silk chemise peeking from under my Shirt Dress, I cheersed in your honor. Day dreaming, I got lost staring up into one of the chandeliers. Mesmerized by a soaring stork that blossomed out of waves of blue glass encased high above me, I imagined that was what you felt like at your easel.
Staring into the stained glass, a soft sea-foam light radiated into the room and bounced off the spotted sconces. I was left breathless.
Wish you could have joined me, but perhaps you were already there. Happy Birthday!
Image: © Lucia Saldarriaga Photo, Municipal House Chandelier (Obecní Dům)
Image: © Self-Portrait in the Green Bugatti (Tamara de Lempicka)
Last Wednesday, the Daisy Buchanans and Google Users far and wide rejoiced and celebrated the 120th birthday of artist Tamara de Lempicka. For those unfamiliar, Ms. de Lempicka was born Maria Groska in Poland to a wealthy family. From an early age, she was exposed to decadence, high art and design, she was even educated in Switzerland, and quite accustomed to travel. She married a prominent lawyer (Mr. Lempicki), and settled in Paris after escaping the Russian Revolution (1917). It was in Paris that she tirelessly developed her signature “Art Deco” style.
What distinguishes Art Deco (short for Arts Décoratifs –which was coined at a World’s Fair in Paris in 1925-) from other styles (like Jackson Pollock’s Abstract Expressionism) is that it is defined by an emphasis on modern architecture, design, glass detailing, geometric shapes and technological progress and use of pricey raw materials (think rich jades, sharp glass and intoxicating marble).
Self-Portrait in the Green Bugatti is exactly that and more. From Ms. Lempicka’s icy stare to her bold red lip, she commandeers the wheel of a uniquely hued Green Bugatti (we’ll discuss the Royale -of which, there were less than ten built in the world in the late 1920s during the Great Depression Era- later). The Bugatti Royale (Type 41) is its own unique artifact because of it’s length, weight and luxury inline- eight engine. Regardless, the geometric design of the Bugatti is mirrored in Lempicka’s rendering of every detail from the door handle, to the shape and puckering of her scarf and the sharp angles of her driving cap and face. Ms. Lempicka is a woman like no other, a lionness on the prowl.
Eventually, Ms. Lempicka made her way to the United States where she became a wildly popular artist in Hollywood and enjoyed a prolific career before she eventually settled in Mexico.
Cool and exquisite, we the viewers are left a little green with envy as Ms. Lempicka zips away in her little green Bugatti.
*Cheers from the Atelier