de Lempicka Self PortraitBorn Tamara Gorska in Warsaw in 1898, she came from a wealthy family and married a well-off attorney, Tadeusz Lempicki, in Petrograd in 1916.

In 1918 Tamara and Tadeusz emigrated to Paris and Tamara gave birth to her only child, Kizette. It was here that she received her first painting lessons, from André Lhote and Maurice Denis. Shortly thereafter, her first paintings were sold from the Gallerie Colette Weill.

In 1925 she made a name for herself exhibiting at the first Art Deco exhibition in Paris. After having affairs with more than one wealthy "patron of the arts" she divorced Tadeusz, and married Baron Raoul Kuffner in 1933.

de Lempicka Self PortraitRaoul and Tamara moved to America in 1939 and exhibitions dedicated exclusively to her work appeared at The Paul Reinhart Gallery, Julian Levy's, Courvoisier Galleries, and the Milwaukee Institute of Art. Her artistic output, however, was decreasing.

In 1960 she changed her style to abstract art and began creating works with a spatula. When Raoul died of a heart attack in 1962 she all but gave up on painting.

In 1980, while living in Mexico, Tamara died in her sleep. Her daughter Kizette scattered her ashes over the crater of Mt. Popocatéptl.

(From Passion by Design: The Art and Times of Tamara De Lempicka)