65
65

PROPERTY FROM AN EAST COAST COLLECTION

Tamara de Lempicka
NU SUR UNE TERRASSE
Estimate
2,000,0003,000,000
LOT SOLD. 2,322,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
65

PROPERTY FROM AN EAST COAST COLLECTION

Tamara de Lempicka
NU SUR UNE TERRASSE
Estimate
2,000,0003,000,000
LOT SOLD. 2,322,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York

Tamara de Lempicka
1898 - 1980
NU SUR UNE TERRASSE
Signed T. De Lempicka (lower right)
Oil on canvas
15 by 21 5/8 in.
38.1 by 54.9 cm
Painted in 1925.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Private Collection (1990)

Sale: Christie's, New York, November 10, 1999, lot 611

Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

Literature

Giles Néret, Tamara de Lempicka 1839-1980,Cologne, 1991, illustrated p. 49

Ellen Thormann, Tamara de Lempicka, Kunstkritik und Kunstlerinnen in Paris, Berlin, 1993, no. 24

Gioa Mori, Tamara de Lempicka, Parigi 1920-1938, Florence, 1994, no. 35, illustrated in color p. 239

Alain Blondel, Tamara de Lempicka, Catalogue raisonné 1921-1979, Lausanne, 1999, no. B58, p. 128, illustrated in color p. 129

Patrick Bade, Tamara de Lempicka, Singapore, 2006, illustrated in color pp. 36-37

 

Catalogue Note

Lempicka's sleek representations of the female nude are renowned as emblems of the Jazz Age.  Painted in 1925 in Paris, the powerful female figure here resembles an Amazonian goddess reclining amidst a thicket of stylized reeds.  Her great limbs extend beyond the boundry of the picture, and the mechanized appearance and sturdy curvature of her body calls to mind the Purist figures in Léger's seminal Le Petit dejeuner (fig. 1).  Unlike the more sterile renderings of contemporaries in the 1920s, Lempicka's nudes channeled an unapologetic brand of female sexuality that few before her had ever dared to attempt.


Precision, clarity and solidity were the definitive characteristics of Lempicka's pictures from this era, and the present painting exemplifies her attention to these factors.  "I looked for a métier that did not exist any longer," she would recall.  "I aimed at technique, métier, simplicity, and good taste.  My goal: Do not copy.  Create a new style, colors light and bright, return to elegance in my models" (quoted in Passion by Design, pp. 52-53).    Lempicka explicitly rejected the "destruction" of Picasso's Cubism and looked instead to the old masters for inspiration, particularly the 16th century Italian Mannerists like Pontormo and Michelangelo.  When in 1925 the critic Arsène Alexandre noted the "perverse Ingrism" in Lempicka's submissions to the Salon d'Automne that year, the artist was flattered by the comparison to the great French neoclassical painter and by the critical recognition of her salacious thematic risks. 


In a recent retrospective of the artist's work, Gioia Mori has written the following about the novelty of Lempicka's nudes of this period, and her comments provide an insightful analysis of the present work:  "In 1925 the nudes presented at the various Salons all had a Rubsenesque exuberance of flesh, from those by Derain to those by Ottmann, to mention just the most illustrated in the various reviews.  The nudes of de Lempicka, though, have peculiarities that the critics did not fail to point out: the perspectival distortion and the renditions of the flesh that, as the reviewer of Le Populaire wrote, was masterly.  Gigantism and smooth, solid flesh as though cut from marble were the result of de Lempicka's study of sculpture.  Among the contemporary models, the female nudes of Maillol were the closest to her own sensibility, demonstrating clearly  the groin, the perfect curves of the thighs, and the rounded belly" (Gioia Mori, Tamara de Lempicka, The Queen of Modern (exhibition catalogue), Complesso del Vittoriano, Rome, 2011, p. 160).

 

While critics at large tended to draw parallels between the overt references to female sexuality and the artist's own risqué lifestyle, Lempicka welcomed the comparisons in the hopes that they would help gain publicity for her art.  The artist cultivated her persona as a woman of the world, whose own personal sexual expression knew few limitations.  This careful crafting of illusion carried over into her compositions, which were similarly stylized and demonstrated an exacting attention to detail.  Presented as stream-lined as a modern race care, the figure here exemplifies the cool and powerful nonchalance which Lempicka herself would project in public.  

This work has been requested for the forthcoming exhibition, Tamara de Lempicka, to be held at the Pinacotèque de Paris from April 10 to September 10, 2013.

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York