Today’s Google Doodle honors the bisexual Polish artist Tamara de Lempicka for her 120th birthday.
The doodle is an art-deco inspired image of her, resembling her own classic work.
Born in Warsaw, she painted during the 1920s and 30s, primarily in France and the United States. Between World War I and II, she was active in the Paris art scene.
After World War II broke out in Europe in 1939, however, she moved to the US with her husband.
In 1974, she moved to Mexico, where she ultimately died in 1980 at the age of 81. Her ashes were scattered over the Popocatépetl volcano.
‘My work was clear and finished’
Lempicka was best known for her Art Deco work, full of geometric shapes and clean lines and colors. She did a lot of portraits of wealthy aristocrats during her career.
Her most well-known piece is her self-portrait, ‘Tamara in the Green Bugatti’.
Lempicka once told her daughter: ‘I was the first woman to make clear paintings. Among a hundred canvases, mine were always recognizable. The galleries tended to show my pictures in the best rooms, because they attracted people. My work was clear and finished.’
Matthew Cruickshank created today’s Doodle.
‘Few artists embodied the exuberant roaring twenties more than Polish artist Tamara de Lempicka,’ he said.
‘I first encountered Lempicka’s work at her Royal Academy show in London, 2004. I was struck by the scale and skill of her paintings coupled with her life (as colorful as her work!).’
Lempicka had relationships with both men and women during her life. Many, naturally, considered it scandalous for the time.
Another trademark style of painting she did was nude paintings, especially of women.
She was friends with several other queer women of the time, including the English author Violet Trefusis and Vita Sackville-West. These two women had a long affair with one another. West, as well, had a relationship with Virginia Woolf.
Lempicka also had a relationship with the French singer and actor, Suzy Solidor, whose portrait she eventually painted.