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2.4.12

Why does Tamara de Lempicka still matters?


Her avant-garde paintings have been collected by celebrities like Madonna, and Barbara Streisand. It could be because both of these alpha females are well known for their progressive thinking, and at times, been viewed as feminists. Tamara de Lempicka was certainly a pioneering artist whom such women (and men) would be attracted to. Her work occupied an important position in the "Roaring Twenties" Paris. Her aesthetic embodied the spirit of the Art Deco era and its sense of style and modernity. When she completed the Nu adossé I in 1925, she was just establishing herself as a painter of serious consideration. On the evening of May 2nd 2012, Sotheby's New York will be auctioning Nu adossé I, a work which most art historians have thought to be lost since the 1920s. The last time anyone have seen this painting in public was more than 85 years ago!

Striking Beauty
Tamara de Lempicka, Nu adossé I, Painted in 1925
Est. $3/5 million



Photo of 1925 Exhibition
Alain Blondel, Tamara de Lempicka, Catalogue raisonné 1921-1979, Lausanne, 1999,
no. 73, illustrated p. 26

Photos courtesy Sotheby's

It is a classic example of the artist’s elegant and sensuous aesthetic and was included in her groundbreaking solo exhibition at Milan's Bottega di Poesia gallery in 1925, the same year it was painted. Following that exhibition, the painting effectively disappeared from view until Sotheby’s was contacted by the owner late last year. The work will be shown in London, prior to exhibition and sale in New York this spring. The whereabouts of Nu adossé I have been unknown for most of its recorded history. The catalogue raisonné for the artist, published in 1999, included an image of the present work (pictured above) taken at the Milan exhibition in 1925, and listed it as “location unknown.” In an era of modernity, de Lempicka still matters, and Nu adossé I was an exciting discovery, which fills an important art historical gap in the artist’s work.

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