Painted in 1933.
Mr. Louis Rachou & Mme Girault de Coursac (née Mademoiselle Poum Rachou), Paris (acquired from the artist)
Galerie Bailly, Paris (acquired from the above and sold: Sotheby's, New York, May 14, 1992, lot 274)
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
Paris, Salon des Tuileries, 1934, no. 1203
Rome, Accademia di Francia, Villa Medici, Tamara de Lempicka, Tra eleganza e trasgressione, 1994, no. 16, illustrated in color in the catalogue (titled Girl with teddy bear and dating from 1934)
Montréal, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Tamara de Lempicka, 1994
London, Royal Academy of Arts & Vienna, Kunstforum Wien, Tamara de Lempicka: Art Deco Icon, 2004-05, no. 51, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Milan, Palazzo Reale, Tamara de Lempicka, 2006-07, no. 43, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Tamara de Lempicka, Annotated Photographic Album, Archives Lempicka, Houston, 1923-33, no. 16
Marc Vaux, Lempicka Collection, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, 1972, no. 16
Gioia Mori, Tamara de Lempicka, Parigi 1920-1938, Florence, 1994, no. 107, illustrated in color p. 206 (as dating from 1934)
Alain Blondel, Tamara de Lempicka, Catalogue Raisonné 1921-1979, Lausanne, 1999, no. B.175, illustrated in color p. 270
Patrick Bade, Tamara de Lempicka, New York, 2006, illustrated in color p. 83
Lempicka's Portrait of Mademoiselle Poum Rachou is one of her most recognizably Cubist-inspired compositions, calling to mind the 1920s Le Petit déjeuner series of Fernand Léger. One can readily see the geometric basis of the composition, especially the cylindrical limbs of the stuffed bear and the repetitive spirals of the little girl's ringlets. Lempicka also invests the composition with a distinct sense of motion, positioning the girl in mid-step and billowing her dress as if it is blown by a gust of wind from the left.
According to Alain Blondel, the present work was inspired by a portrait that Lempicka completed of her daughter Kizette in 1922. In this more modern interpretation of the subject, the girl is much more stylized, with a metallicized appearance typical of Lempicka's Art Deco portraits. As Blondel notes, "in a 1922 portrait of her daughter, Lempicka had Kizette hold a most complacent teddy bear. Here, the stuffed toy is endowed with overly bright eyes, as if ready to rebel" (Alain Blondel, op. cit., p. 270).
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