Study of Head and Hands by Tamara De Lempicka

  • Sketched by renowned Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka, this drawing shows remarkable depth
  • Lempicka examines a woman's head and hands with meticulous detail
  • As with her neo-Cubist paintings, Lempicka creates immense depth through light and shading
  • This pencil on paper work provides the rare opportunity to see a glimpse of Lempicka's process
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-5860

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Tamara De Lempicka
1898-1980 | Polish

Study of Head and Hands
(Etude de tête et de mains)

Signed “T. de Lempicka 1950” (bottom right)
Pencil on paper

This pencil on paper study by Tamara de Lempicka demonstrates the artist's immense skill in building form. Lempicka has focused on the three different features in the drawing, so only the woman’s contemplative face and two hands are visible. Gazing towards the distance, the woman appears reflective, her sharp cheekbones and firm brow providing definition to the face. With the depth the artist creates through shadow and carefully shading with pencil, Lempicka’s portrait here creates a remarkable lifelike quality and is reminiscent of her neo-Cubist figures. Best known for her images of stylish women, Study of Head and Hands offers the rare opportunity to get a peek behind the curtain to see the working process of one of the 20th century’s most glamorous artists. 

Lempicka’s life was marked by constant movement. Born in Poland at the turn of the 20th century, Lempicka was forced to flee to France in 1918 after the beginning of the Russian Revolution. During a visit to Italy in her youth, she became enraptured by the Italian Old Masters. Inspired by this formative experience, Lempicka enrolled in Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris to take up painting. She studied under famed avant-garde artists Maurice Denis and André Lhote, who introduced her to Cubism, and she began exhibiting at the Parisian salons as early as 1922. Lempicka became a fixture in Parisian high society, spending much of her time hosting wealthy elites in her atelier on Rue Méchain. 

With a resurgence of appreciation for the Art Deco period, combined with the success of her retrospective at Galerie de Luxembourg in 1971, Lempicka’s work has achieved remarkable acclaim in recent decades. Much of her work resides in museums worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Musée des Beaux-Arts du Havre, and the National Museum Warsaw, among others. Alain Blondel, the esteemed French author who compiled the artist’s catalogue raisonné, wrote fondly of her uniqueness: “Tamara de Lempicka will always continue to defy categorization. Her art and her life destiny do not fit into the usual framework for 20th-century artists. The idea that art could be a profession was foreign to Lempicka. Her life and her painting were too closely intertwined for that.”

Study of Head and Hands can be found in the artist’s catalogue raisonné. 

Circa 1950

Paper: 9 1/2“ high x 6” wideFrame: 17“ high x 13” wide x 1“ deep

Literature:Alain Blondel, Tamara de Lempicka, Catalogue raisonné 1921-1979, Lausanne, 1999, no. A.217

Estate of the artist
Study of Head and Hands by Tamara De Lempicka
Maker: de Lempicka, Tamara
Period: 1919-Present
Origin: France
Type: Drawings
Depth: 1.0 Inches
Width: 13.0 Inches
Height: 17.0 Inches
Canvas Width: 6 Inches
Canvas Height: 9.5 Inches
Study of Head and Hands by Tamara De Lempicka
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