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Self portrait in green Bugatti

Painting, 1929, 35×27 cm

Description of the artwork «Self portrait in green Bugatti»

"Self portrait in green Bugatti" - picture of Tamara Lempicka, depicting her real career and become an iconic image. Although, as in the scandalous biography of the artist, which she remade as wanted in this portrait is a bit of fiction.

Indiscreet charm Bugatti


Legend has it that the editor of the most influential fashion magazine of Germany was smitten with the Bohemian kind of activist art, looked out of his car in front of a luxury hotel in Monte Carlo. Elegant, independent and emancipated, she looked the perfect role model for advanced readers of the magazine "Die Dame", so the editor immediately ordered Lempicka her self-portrait for the cover of the next issue.

Unequivocally flick of the wrist, Tamara turned her little yellow Renault in a sparkling chrome plated Bugatti, rightly judging that it would be much better to set off its aristocratic gloss. It did not take into account only one small detail: before 1963, the cars of this brand were produced with right hand steering wheel. However, this did not prevent "self-Portrait in the green Bugatti" cover of a popular magazine to make a lot of noise and get the title "anthem for the modern woman".

Another interesting detail: the company informed the popular French weekly magazine "Vu" put on the cover of the work of photographer andré Kertészdepicting a young lady driving a sports car. The model demonstrated total outfit from Hermès: sport ensemble, gloves and leather helmet – just like the self-portrait Tamara Lempicka. Obviously, this photograph of the famous masters and has been a source of inspiration for the painting.

This was all Tamara: nothing could stop her on the path to success nor an outright mockery of others, nor gossip about her novels, making her more publicity than the actual artistic talent, nor even more so accusations of plagiarism.

Boho chic


The gift, made it for some time the most famous salon painter of Paris of the 1920s and one of the most expensive artists of our time, lay more in the field of sober calculation and understanding of the functioning of the art market than in the high spheres of the arts.

Lempicka knew that to make good money (and that was her goal, because after fleeing from Russia from the fires of revolution, her husband-an aristocrat became depressed and could not support a family) by painting portraits of the nobility. And in order to wealthy customers lined up, it was necessary to Shine the most. And that she had a way like no other.

Competition at that time was high: "When I started to draw – it was a time when I started to draw many women – reminisced the artist. – Then did more women than men". And in order to enter into the highest light, it was a good try, even if he had to pull the entire fee for the first picture on the jewels or take a mink Cape available for rent.

The scandalous reputation Lempicka and the trail of numerous novels from both sexes were in this case. People art is not only forgiven, but, on the contrary, the paintings are eccentric or even crazy artists have always sold better.

But you need to give her her due: for all the sophistication of strategy and love for high society, Lempicka was sincere in his passion to walk on the edge and enjoy the privilege of "try everything", which allowed the Bohemian lifestyle.

"I live on the margins of society, and the rules of normal society don't matter to those who are on the sidelines" - this principle of life of the artist could be the motto of one of the most famous admirers of creativity Lempicka. Pop diva Madonna is not only collects picture of one of the first icons of emancipation and destructive of moral values, but also used themin the setting for several music videos and in decorating for their world tour.

Author: Natalia Azarenka
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About the artwork

This artwork was added since it is referred to in the materials below

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait

Style of art: Art Deco

Technique: Oil

Materials: Wood

Date of creation: 1929

Size: 35×27 cm

Artwork in selections: 45 selections