Her focus on women was unusual within the art industry, mainly due to the lack of female artists to be found within it, going all the way back to the Early Renaissance and even before that. She also offered a different perspective on female portraiture, being able to understand the mind of each model better than her male colleagues would have been able to do. Her content also reflected her own lifestyle, with glamorous outfits which would make you envious of these desirable lifestyles. Lempicka filled a void within the art world, where female art followers were not having their tastes catered for sufficiently. The likes of Artemisia Gentileschi, Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe have provided additional support to Lempicka in allowing women to find art which better represents themselves. We are still a way away from true equality within this industry, but feminist icons such as this have at least helped to move us into the right direction and given us renewed hope for the future.
The artist's grandmother played an important role in her early development. The two travelled to Italy in order to study the masters as early as 1911. They would take in the culturally significant cities of Venice, Rome and Florence during an extended trip. Tamara was introduced to many different techniques used by some of the great artistic names of the past during this indepth study of a number of museums and galleries. Her grandmother was particularly knowledgeable and also keen to help her granddaughter glean as much knowledge from the trip as possible. Few girls in that period would have been as fortunate, but this was a wealthy family who had more opportunities open to them than most. So, with all these traditional influences early on in her studies and artistic development, how did Tamara end up with such a modern style?
Political turbulence in Eastern Europe would force the young student to end her studies in St Petersburg and to relocate to France. She was able to take advantage of an offer of accomodation within her extended family within Paris and was soon enrolled in an art college. She went through several different institutions and along the way would learn about Cubism, which would ulimately influence her own artistic style. Lempicka showed considerably ability which allowed her to progress quickly and the French capital was probably the best city in the world at that time to learn new ideas and artistic techniques. Many others from around the world had also moved to the city, thus creating an international hub of modern art. She would now find inspiration at every corner, and it is hard to imagine her becoming the artist and celebrity that she did without this move to Western Europe in her early years.
It was in the 1920s that several key features of her work would appear. City scenes would start to pop up in the background, whilst her preference for models with striking features would also begin. Lempicka would also start to use a more restricted palette, having initially experimented with all available options, just as with most enthuastic students. At this stage she appeared to be merging ideas from the Expressionists alongside more traditional artists such as Ingres. At an early stage, rather than merging them, she would actually focus more in one direction for one artwork, then the other for the next. She continued to experiment for several years before these influences began to merge together into a single, uniform approach. That would become the signature style for which we all best remember the artist still today.