Tamara de Lempicka was a very controversial artist, she was a bisexual woman who was twice in her life a victim of, then capable of rebirth from persecution first by the Bolsheviks and then by the Nazis, the object of stereotypes even by those who accused her of snobbery when she had survived poverty and hardship.
She was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1898 into a wealthy Jewish family, of a Polish mother and a Russian father, who died prematurely when she was only five years old. In 1917, when the Russian Revolution began, her family fled the country, while Tamara and her husband, who was militating in the counterrevolutionary ranks, stayed and had a daughter. Their home was attacked by Bolsheviks in the middle of the night, Tamara’s husband was arrested and his house ransacked. she searched for him in the prisons and after several weeks, with the help of the Swedish consul, obtained his release.
Tamara escaped with her husband and daughter to Copenhagen, joining her parents and then went to London, before settling in Paris.
When she arrived in Paris, had no money and her husband refused to work, she was forced to sell all her jewellery and started to paint on commission. At the time, the art scene was an expression of the middle class and many of their members liked to pretend to be poor in order to mock the upper middle class and criticised Tamara for her middle-class background. But then she was just a woman trying not to starve herself, her husband and her daughter.
Nevertheless, they criticised her constantly for working for the rich. But her conduct was in truth dictated by survival instinct. She worked with determination and foresight in handling orders until she was prosperous and financially stable.
When people look at a rich man who loves beautiful things, they say he has good taste. When a woman does the same, they say she is superficial. She has had a difficult life full of ups and downs, hardships that she has dealt with herself through hard work, and has been called spoiled. Tamara deserved better and her legacy deserves more than what the patriarchy has done.