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Tribute to Tamara Lempicka: Adam Aston sings tango "Tamara", 1933

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Published on May 26, 2011

Adam Aston & Orkiestra Syrena Rekord, dyr. Henryk Wars - Tamara - tango z rewii "Wiosna i miłość" teatru Hollywood (from theatre "Hollywood" revue "Spring and Love") (Muz.: Z.Lewandowski / Tekst: Z. Maciejowski) Syrena-Electro 1933 (Polish)

NOTE: I dedicate this haunting tango to the memory of Polish painter, Tamara Łempicka (nee Maria Górska) - one of the most fascinating European artists of the 20th century. Her works - together with paintings of Andre Lhote or Maurice Denis were fundamental for the development of art deco style in visual arts. Born in Warsaw in 1898 to a wealthy Polish family Górski (her father was the law advisor for international bankers making business with the Russian tycoons, and her mother's sister was a wife of the representative of Credits Lyonnais in Tzarist Russia) she spent her childhood and youth in Moscow and in St. Petersburgh, where she enjoyed the last years of the blitz and glamour of the upper class life in dying Russian empire. Married in age of 17 to a Polish aristocrat, Tadeusz Łempicki she experienced the atrocities of early stages of the bolshevik revolution, before she managed to flee, together with her whole family, to Finland and farther via Danemark, to France (her husband, who was arrested by the communist Cheka secret police joined them two years later). In Paris, living still on relatively high standard she started studying arts in the renowned school de la Grande Chaumiere. Soon, her paintings drew attention of her professor Andre Lhote who arranged for Łempicka her debut in the Salon d'Autumne. Later, she exhibited in the snobistic Bottega di Poesia in Milan - an event which thanks to the personal involvement of Gabriele d'Annunzio - who was one of the most "fashionable" writers of the era and personal friend of Benito Mussolini -opened to her avenue to international fame. In the end of the1920s and trough early 1930s, Tamara Łempicka was probably one of the most expensive portraitist of the European aristocracy and French artists - she portrayed members of Italian, Greek, German and Russian royal families, counts and marquises, American millionaires (e.g. members of the Bush family) or artists such as Jean Cocteau, Andre Gide, Suzy Solidor. Her personal life, alas, did not make up to her professional success: her beloved husband Tadeusz could not find place for himself in her world of the "beautiful people" of the jazz age in Paris, so - more and more jealous about her numerous romances with men and women - he finally left her for the Polish pharmaceutical heiress, Irena Spiess and moved to Warsaw. Tamara's desperate travels to the Polish capital city and attempts to save her marriage, failed. Tormented by attacks of depression, hypochondria and fear of changes of the artistic trends in Europe - from art deco towards the abstract painting, which she simply did not understand - she married the Hungarian-Jewish baron Kuffner with whom (and with almost the whole of her and her husband's fortunes) she left for America in the very last moments before WW2. Having settled first in Hollywood, then - via New York - in Houston, she finally chose Cuernavaca in Mexico as her harbour for last decades of life. Almost forgotten by the world, she however was at the end given a wonderful chance of witnessing the recurrence of interest about her art, when in 1970, Alain Blondel - French student of arts and group of his artist friends, who gathered around Galerie Luxembourg in Paris - arranged for her a great exhibition and a triumphant Come Back of Tamara Lempicka to galleries, museums and art auctions, where prices of her paintings started to drive quickly up to millions of dollars and people like Madonna or Jack Nicholson quarelled whose private collection of her works is better and more representative for Lempicka's genius (Madonna hunted for the earlier paintings while Nicholson concentrated on collecting later works of the Polish artist, when Lempicka exparimented with the abstract painting).

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