Lot 10
  • 10

Tamara de Lempicka

4,000,000 - 6,000,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Tamara de Lempicka
  • Les Jeunes filles
  • Signed DE LEMPICKA (lower right)
  • Oil on panel
  • 13 3/4 by 10 1/2 in.
  • 35 by 26.6 cm


Carlo Grassi, Italy (acquired from the artist in 1932)

Walter Haas, Switzerland (acquired by 1982)

Private Collection, United States

Barry Friedman Ltd., New York (acquired by 1983)

Acquired from the above in 1990


Paris, Galerie Fauvety, 1932 (titled Les Deux amies)

Los Angeles, Hollywood American Legion Post, Tamara, 1984, no. 17

Rome, Accademia di Francia (Villa Medici) & Montreal, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Tamara de Lempicka: Tra eleganza e trasgressione, 1994, illustrated in color in the catalogue (no. 31 in Rome & no. 28 in Montreal)


Tamara de Lempicka, Annotated Photographic Album, Archives Lempicka, Houston, 1923-33, no. 64

Iza Zaslawsaka, "Tamara de Lempicka" in Kobieta Wspolczesna, Warsaw, July 20, 1932, illustrated p. 752

Marc Vaux, Lempicka Collection, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, 1972, no. 64, n.p.

Germain Bazin & Hiroyuki Itsuki, Tamara de Lempicka, Tokyo, 1980, no. 28, illustrated n.p.

Federico Zeri, "Tamara sesso e pittura" in La Stampa, December 13, 1987, illustrated n.p.

Baroness Kizette de Lempicka-Foxhall & Charles Phillips, Passion by Design, The Art and Times of Tamara de Lempicka, New York, 1987, illustrated in color p. 91

Ellen Thormann, Tamara de Lempicka, Kunstkritik und Künstlerinnen in Paris, Berlin, 1993, no. 52, listed p. 220

Gilles Néret, Tamara de Lempicka, 1898-1980, Cologne, 1991, illustrated in color p. 32

Alain Blondel, Tamara de Lempicka, Catalogue Raisonné 1921-1979, Lausanne, 1999, no. B.128, illustrated in color p. 214

Patrick Bade, Tamara de Lempicka, New York, 2006, illustrated in color p.49

Catalogue Note

Bold and stylized in its presentation, Les Jeunes filles is a highly charged and suggestive double-portrait. Set against a Cubist-inspired urban background of skyscrapers, Lempicka’s Les Jeunes filles is both aggressively modern and overtly sensual in sensibility. Tamara de Lempicka’s distinctive, boldly cosmopolitan portraits and nudes, predominately of women, were the ideal means of conveying the opulence and liberated boldness of the années folles, Paris’s legendary Jazz Age. Perhaps the most representative painter of the Art Deco style, Lempicka’s tantalizing portraits have come to personify the time. Born in Poland, Lempicka lived, as a child, in St. Petersburg, before moving to Paris in 1918. She spent the 1920s and 30s cultivating a glamorous international persona and establishing herself as the quintessential portrait painter to the new social elite. Les Jeunes filles is rare in its depiction of, rather than a single portrait, two entwined figures. The elegant, simplified angles and planes of the womens' bodies, shaped into shaded curvilinear forms, with luminous skin and hair which glows with a metallic sheen exemplifies the most daring characteristics of Lempicka's work. The chromium and crimson colored coifs serve to frame the model’s features and their largely indecipherable facial expressions, while their red lips provide dashes of pure, unmodulated color. The brightly hued scarf sweeps across the lower register of the composition, with eloquent folds that contain dramatically rendered shadows, providing brief, tantalizing glimpses of the exposed flesh of one of the figures. With its exceptional technical quality, the smooth and brilliant rendering of colors, and its striking depiction of its subject, Les Jeunes filles is an elegant development of the artist’s take on a variety of painterly styles, where shapes and composition are carefully measured to create a pleasing and harmonious balance.   In pioneering her own distinct style, Lempicka absorbed a great variety of elements from the avant-garde art movements of her time – the geometric aesthetic and fragmented perspective of Cubism, the vibrant color palette of the Fauves, the proportionality of Neo-Classicism, the dynamic lines of Futurists, the dream-like spatial logic of Surrealism and the razor-sharp draughtsmanship and hyper-realism of the Neue Sachlichkeits in central Europe – blending these styles and influences with her love of the Italian Old Masters to an extraordinary effect. As Magdeleine Dayot wrote, the paintings are a “curious blend of extreme modernism and classical purity that attracts and surprises, and provokes, perhaps even before conquering completely, a sort of cerebral struggle where these very different tendencies fight with each other until the moment the gaze grasps the great harmony that reigns in these opposites” (quoted in G. Mori, Tamara de Lempicka: The Queen of Modern, Milan, 2011, p. 21). While Lempicka frequently acknowledges her indebtedness to the Italian Renaissance and how the style of the Old Masters and Italian Manneriests profoundly impacted the development of her unique artistic style, equally important to her as an artist were the aesthetic forces of her era – the cult of the machine and  the American film industry. The Machine age aesthetic with its linear qualities and smooth surfaces permeated the Western World in the nineteenth century, coating it in a metallic sheen. Borrowing from the chrome and enamel feel of the time, Lempicka’s works, with their exceptional technical quality, are rendered with imperceptible brushstrokes. Enthralled with the mystique and enamored by the modern glamour of Hollywood, it is no accident that the models in her portraits often resemble film icons from the early days of Hollywood’s golden age. With its characteristic razor-sharp draughtsmanship, theatrical lighting and sensual modeling, Les Jeunes filles demonstrates the ways in which Lempicka’s portraits are unlike those of any other artist of her day.