Lot 373
  • 373

Tamara de Lempicka

Estimate
300,000 - 400,000 USD
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Description

  • Tamara de Lempicka
  • √Čtude pour Femmes au bain
  • Stamped T. de Lempicka (lower center)
  • Oil on panel
  • 23 3/4 by 36 1/8 in.
  • 60.2 by 91.9 cm

Provenance

Sale: Me Charbonneaux, Paris, March 20, 1988, lot 72
Sale: Vindobona, Krakow, April 24, 1990, lot 17
Private Collection, Poland 
Acquired from the above by 1994

Literature

Alain Blondel, Tamara de Lempicka, Catalogue raisonné 1921-1979, Lausanne, 1999, no. B.121, illustrated p. 210

Condition

The panel is sound. A few scattered surface scuffs throughout and some pindots of paintloss in the left thigh of the bottom-most figure. Under UV light some thin strokes of inpainting are visible in the upper left quadrant, just to the right of the leftmost figure's face, a thin horizontal line in the central standing nudes left thigh and a small line on her right foot. A few pindots near the chin of the figure just to the right of the full length nude and several small retouches to the body of the seated nude, otherwise fine. This work is in good condition.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

Catalogue Note

Sensual, elegant and ultra-stylized in its presentation, Étude pour femmes au bain is a suggestive depiction of women bathing. Painted in 1929, while Tamara de Lempicka was living in Paris, this sumptuous composition exemplifies the artist’s chic and inimitable style.

Tamara de Lempicka was born in Poland and lived in St. Petersburg in her youth. In 1918 she traveled to Paris where she set about furthering her art education and cultivating a glamorous international persona. In the fall of 1920, she enrolled at the Académie Ranson in Paris under the instruction of Maurice Denis. Denis was a Nabis painter with an affinity for the Italian quattrocento and it was through him that Lempicka first acquired an appreciation for the Italian Primitives which she would later discover in person during her 1925 studies in Rome. It was in 1921, however, when Lempicka began to take lessons from André Lhote, that she learned the importance of precise draftsmanship. Lhote was a Cubist who  indomitably admired the work of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and he proved to be the young artist’s most influential teacher. Lempicka’s shared respect for the nineteenth-century artist can be found in the present work, which owes much to Ingres’ final masterpiece Le Bain Turc. Ingres’ celebrated composition of numerous nude women in a harem provided Lempicka with an archetype for how to arrange figures in intimate proximity to one another, depict female figures in various poses, and tackle multi-figure arrangements.

Lempicka first exhibited her work publically in the Salon d’Automne and Salon des Tuileries of 1922. It was through her exposure to the height of avant-garde art that abounded in Paris at this time that she derived a distinct style of painting unlike any of her male contemporaries. Impressed by the Cubists and their deconstruction of form, she applied similar techniques in her paintings; adapting them to suit her style. Loosely tied to the geometric aesthetic of Cubism and the proportionality of Neo-Classicism, Lempicka’s painting can be characterized by its razor-sharp draughtsmanship, theatrical lighting and sensual modeling. Her most striking depictions of women, including the tantalizing Étude pour femmes au bain, have come to personify the age of Art Deco.