Painted circa 1947, Ville des rochers is one of a pair of paintings that Tamara de Lempicka created in response to the atrocities and trauma caused by the Second World War. In a surprising departure from Lempicka’s portraits and still-life works, Ville des rochers resorts to an unprecedented surreal style, presenting the vision of an imagined landscape. Jagged rocks and stalactites form an uninhabitable landscape. The vertical, trunk-like forms in the foreground are reminiscent of the legs of a figure, in which the scarred, eroded rock seems to evoke the bones, muscles and ligaments. The hallucinatory quality of this seemingly decomposing, inhospitable landscape is illustrative of Lempicka’s reaction to the terrifying horrors that had befallen Europe during the war. At the time Ville des rochers was painted, Lempicka was living in the United States, where she had moved to in 1939, just before the invasion of Poland by Hitler’s armies, and the subsequent outbreak of war. Of Polish birth, Lempicka was deeply concerned by the plight of the people of her native country, and during her stay in America the artist became involved with war-relief work, donating time and money for the benefit of Polish as well as British people. Ville des rochers demonstrates Lempicka’s subjective, artistic response to the fearsome trauma of war and the immeasurable destruction and loss of human life it had caused.