Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980)
Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980)

Portrait d'Ira P.

Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980)
Portrait d'Ira P.
signed 'T. DE LEMPICKA' (lower right)
oil on panel
39.3/8 x 25 in. (100 x 65 cm.)
Painted in 1930
Ira Perrot, Paris (acquired directly from the artist in 1930).
Galerie Luxembourg, Paris (acquired from the above in 1972).
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1972.
Artisans, January 1930.
Le Temps, December 1932.
"Un bel atelier moderne," Actualits fminines, Paris, 1932 (illustrated).
Le Petit Journal, January 1933.
G.C., "Tamara de Lempicka," Cose, no. 92, March 1933 (illustrated).
R. Nalys, L'Officiel de la Couture, August 1933 (illustrated).
M. Vaux, Lempicka, Paris, 1972, no. 40 (illustrated).
G. Marmori, Tamara de Lempicka, Milan, 1977, p. 15 (illustrated, p. 105).
G. Marmori, Tamara de Lempicka, Milan, 1978, p. 7 (illustrated, p. 19).
G. Marmori, "Tamara is Forever. Portrait of a Forgotton Artist," Viva, August 1978, pp. 59-63 (illustrated, p. 62).
G. Bazin and H. Itsuki, Tamara de Lempicka, Tokyo, 1980, p. 6 (illustrated in color, fig. 44).
A.A. V.V., Tamara de Lempicka. Il mito del ritratto, Tokyo, 1980, no. 44 (illustrated).
G. Marmori, "Tamara," FMR, vol. X (no. 46), November 1986, p. 104 (illustrated).
C.L. Phillips, Disegno e passione. L'arte e la vita di Tamara de Lempicka, Milan, 1987, p. 46 (illustrated).
K. de Lempicka-Foxhall and C. Phillips, Passion by Design, The Art and Times of Tamara de Lempicka, New York, 1987, p. 47 (illustrated in color, p. 46).
G. Olmedo, "Especial Tamara de Lempicka," Cassas & Gente, 1989 (illustrated on the cover).
E. Lucie-Smith, Art Deco Painting, New York, 1990, p. 61 (illustrated on the cover; illustrated in color, p. 62, pl. 38).
G. Nret, Tamara de Lempicka 1898-1980, Cologne, 1992, p. 42 (illustrated in color).
E. Thormann, Tamara de Lempicka, Berlin, 1993, no. 68.
G. Mori, Tamara de Lempicka, Parigi 1920-1938, Florence, 1994, p. 261, no. 74 (illustrated in color, p. 173).
L. Tansini, "Dai boulevard al Viale del tramonto," Art e Dossier, vol. IX (no. 87), February 1994, pp. 38-41.
Paris, Grand Palais, Socit des Artistes Indpendants, January-March 1930, p. 217, no. 2544.
Paris, Grand Palais, Socit des Artistes Indpendants, January-February 1933, p. 163, no. 2984.
Paris, Galerie du Luxembourg, Tamara de Lempicka de 1925 1935, June-July 1972, p. 14, no. 46 (illustrated, p. 59).
Paris, Pavillon d'Expositions Bastille, 1er Salon international d'art contemporain, 1974.
Tokyo, Seibu Museum of Art, Tamara de Lempicka, 1980.

Lot Essay

At the height of the Art Deco era Tamara de Lempicka was at once a member of the aristocracy of Paris and an impassioned recorder of its extravagant characters. Lempicka's portraits are as dramatic as they are intimate. Her paintings "perfectly document the time and very fine emotional caricatures that capture exactly the right flash of arrogance, hypochondriacal tic, or seductive challenge. None of which was surprising, because she was one of them. She understood them, how they felt, what they thought, whom they feared. She knew them, both the men and the women--often intimately" (K. De Lempicka-Foxhall and C. Phillips, op. cit., 1987, p. 52).

Lempicka's attraction to glamour and sensual elegance is typified in Portrait d'Ira P., the artist's close friend and purported lover. Draped in a clinging white satin gown, Ira leans seductively against the edge of the picture plane holding a bouquet of calla lilies and a billowing red shawl which echos her vermillion lips and fingernails. In portraiture, from antiquity to today, flowers have often served as a symbol of the romantic appeal and erotic allure of the sitter. Indeed, Ira's lily-white dress accentuates her soft form, the outline of her navel and belly plainly visible as though she were nude. She appears sexy yet aloof. Ira's body turns toward the viewer, but her eyes look elsewhere, seemingly unaware of the voyeuristic gaze that her pose invites. Ira P. is as classically beautiful and exotic as the flowers she holds and like the flowers, she too is in full bloom.