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The Many Faces of Tamara de Lempicka - Kosciuszko Projects Exhibition

Friday, October 11, 2019, at 12:00pm


Kosciuszko Projects Presents

The Many Faces of Tamara de Lempicka

An Exhibition of de Lempicka's art, documents and memorabilia

Curated by Bartek Remisko

October 11 - November 1, 2019

The Kosciuszko Foundation: 15 E 65th Street, New York, NY 10065


The Kosciuszko Foundation is pleased to announce the launching of a new cultural initiative, Kosciuszko Projects, and its first exhibit: The Many Faces of Tamara de Lempicka. A selection of a dozen works from different periods, as well as memorabilia belonging to the artist and archival materials will be presented to the New York public for the first time in fifty years.

This intimate exhibit presents a glimpse into the "de Lempicka phenomenon" as it has come to be known since her critical re-evaluation began in 1973.

Photographs of de Lempicka and her spectacular Paris and New York apartments taken by renowned photographers present how she created her star status among collectors. Art works that were especially significant to her personally, as well as some of her treasured memorabilia which she safeguarded through revolution, two wars and six residences will serve as clues to the mystery of her personality. 

Internationally known as an Art Deco Diva and Queen of the Modern Tamara de Lempicka is identified with her luminous nudes and portraits of the wealthy and beautiful, particularly her self- portrait, "Tamara in the Green Bugatti."

As a figurative painter at a time when the avant-garde was deconstructing form, she used precise draftsmanship and technical skill in the manner of the Dutch and Italian Renaissance masters. Fully infused with the context of modernity in her Paris of the Roaring 1920's, she blended this classicism with the aesthetic of graphic art, photography and cinema. Her "Bella Rafaela" was dubbed "the nude of the century."

De Lempicka is one of the first generally recognized female artists and her artistic language and independence continue to inspire new generations today, and they are (re)discovering her oeuvre in the era of Instagram and Social Media.

The exhibit opening will take place on Friday, Oct. 11 through Sunday, Oct. 13 from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Foundation's House: 15 E 65th Street, New York, NY 10065. The presentation will continue through November 1, 2019 during the hours of 12:00 to 6:00 p.m., Monday - Friday, with the exception of Oct. 14 – Columbus Day; it is free and open to the public.

Kosciuszko Projects, curated by Bartek Remisko, intends to present in New York works by the renowned Polish artists.

The Foundation expresses its gratitude to Victoria de Lempicka, Marisa de Lempicka and Anne & Richard Paddy, and private collectors who wish to remain anonymous, for making their collections available for presentation to the public and for much valuable assistance in organizing this exhibition. We would also like to thank Andrew Kenda for inspiration, and to Ms. Krystyna Piórkowska, the project's exclusive sponsor. 

Tamara de Lempicka was born Tamara Rosalia Gurwik- Gorska on May 16, 1898 in Warsaw, Poland (then part of the Russian Empire) into a wealthy and cultured family. She spent much of her childhood in Switzerland and Italy, where she was influenced by the works of the Renaissance and Mannerist masters. Living in St. Petersburg during the 1917 Russian Revolution, she and her husband Tadeusz Lempicki fled to France to escape the Bolsheviks. To earn a living in Paris, she determined that she would be a painter at the suggestion of her sister, the architect Adrienne Gorska. She briefly studied under Andre Lhote and Maurice Denis. Her breakthrough occurred when she was offered a show at the Bottega di Poesia in Milan in 1925, where she showed about thirty works and which became a sensational success. She first exhibited with the masculine pseudonym T. Lempitzki, and others but then settled on de Lempicka when she felt more secure in her position as a well-regarded female artist. In 1939 Tamara and her new Jewish Hungarian husband Baron Raoul Kuffner emigrated to Hollywood and then New York. She never stopped painting, but the somber world situation affected her tremendously and her subject matter reveals that mood. Upon Kuffner's death she moved to Houston, Texas where her daughter Kizette was living and then in the 70's to Mexico. She died in Cuernavaca on March 18, 1980.

Her works are included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Musée National d'Art Moderne and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C.; and The Muzeum Narodowe in Warsaw among others, as well as in numerous private collections.


[Sources: Tamara de Lempicka Estate, Alain Blondel, Gioia Mori, Katarzyna Nowakowska-Sito, Wikipedia, Christies.com]


Featured visuals:

Tamara de Lempicka, "Portrait of Kizette Adult I", oil on canvas, 27 x 22 cm., circa 1954. Collection Richard and Anne Paddy, USA 

Photo of Tamara de Lempicka by CAMUZZI, circa 1934/37 (on the exhibition poster) and by Joffe, circa 1938; from  Tamara de Lempicka Estate

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