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Tamara De Lempicka: A Life of Deco and Decadence

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  103 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
With her couture clothes and movie-star good looks (she was frequently mistaken for Greta Garbo), Tamara de Lempicka seemed too glamorous to be a serious painter. Even in the years of her greatest success, 1925 to 1935, the luscious colors and highly wrought finishes of her portraits--a suspect genre in any case to high modernists--linked Lempicka more closely to the Itali ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published March 5th 2001 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published September 21st 1999)
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Aug 11, 2007 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any Painter
An eccentric "Art Deco Painter". Born into a wealthy Polish family. She'd party all night, sleep with women, then come home to her husband & child, and paint all morning. She had a decadent lifestyle. Best Biography I've ever read. My favorite Artist.
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books, 2017
Tamara de Lempicka is my absolute favourite artist but this book was painfully tedious and boring. It could have used some rigorous editing. I was repeatedly frustrated by how the author seemed to just decide what Tamara thought or felt about something. I found the writing, on the whole, presumptuous, pretentious and even somewhat delusional in parts. As much as she tried I don't think the author got her at all.

I was so looking forward to this but alas... Very disappointing. I don't feel like th
Heather jameyson
Oct 27, 2008 rated it did not like it
The problem with this book is that it was billed as a biography. It's more of an art history book that somewhat focuses on Tamara De Limpicka but Claridge gets a little long winded with 10+pages on the history of Art-Deco etc in the middle of narrating Tamara's life and the result is really boring.
Oct 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: art history students, art enthusiasts, fans of flappers
Shelves: bios-and-memoirs, art
Claridge has done her homework here to an astonishing degree. The amount of research put into pealing back the layers of time and mystery that have surrounded the life of one of the 20th century's most fascinating painters is incredible. This book should be on the shelf of any Lempicka fan if for no other reason than it debunks the most popular myths of the others books by so called "scholars" littering the same shelf left and right.

The writing in this is incredibly dense. There's just so much m
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
A very enjoyable book.

Like her book on Emily Post, she looks at more than just the artist she is writing about, she also looks at the world at large that helped shape them and vice versa. I was aware of this artist work, but never new her name. I only read this book based on the strength of the authors work on the Emily Post one.

Tamra De Lempicka was a fascinating woman, a highly talented artist whose personal life sabotaged her professional and critical opportunities.

But rather than arguing tha
Linda Robinson
De Lempicka's work is extraordinary; her life wildly artistic.

"The sky-high prices attached to her canvases in recent years have still not dispelled the suspicions that a woman of Lempicka's glamour and fame could be a truly serious artist."

Really? Does the same criteria apply to Picasso?

"She [sic:] was determined to embody that icon of the age, the new woman."

I sort of thought she was one.

Question: What is a biographer's responsibility to her subject?

I'm reminded of the line from the movie "Pr
Oct 26, 2012 rated it liked it
How could this not be interesting? She was an aristocrat in Russia during the revolution, an odd man out in the Left Bank, in America for the stock market crash and then returned to Hollywood in the 1940s. Then she became a crazy old woman who mocked hippies and verbally abused her adult daughter. I was introduced to her through Camille Paglia's recent art book "Glittering Images." Unfortunately my library copy had all the illustrations torn out, but thank goodness for the internet.
Mar 29, 2010 marked it as to-read
Tamara de Lempicka could've painted sewage ducts and given me a boner.

She also had a really interesting life. I'd love to read this.

A very good book to do hommage to this outstanding artist without glorifying her. An excentric femme fatale, especially fascinating in the times of her limelight, les annes folles - Art Deco. She lived what she painted - beauty, sensuality, decadence.
Sep 22, 2014 rated it liked it
I registered a book at!
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a fantastic reminder that we're all on the verge of being stark raving mad. Also, made me terribly thankful to be a woman living in the west in 2013 and not in 1920.
Mar 22, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
real sexy paintings, but boring book
Oct 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Kate Farrar
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting book that gave me a lot of information about Tamara de Lempicka that I wasn't able to find elsewhere. I wish there were more books like this.
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Dec 07, 2011
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Sep 24, 2014
Devon Claridge
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Laura Claridge has written books ranging from feminist theory to biography and popular culture, most recently the story of an American icon, Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners (Random House), for which she received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant. This project also received the J. Anthony Lukas Prize for a Work in Progress, administered by the Nieman ...more
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