100 Days of Art History Jinjins


Self Portrait in the Green Bugatti

This is a very fun art deco painting, originally done for the cover of German magazine Die Dame, by Polish artist Tamara de Lempicka. It's always fun to see a self portrait of a woman artist. She shows herself modern, self-assured, in charge, and glamorously beautiful. Some cursory research on Wikipedia tells me she lived the kind of life you'd expect for a lady who saw herself like this--she escaped the Russian Revolution, was mistress to a Baron (later marrying him and becoming the "Baroness with a brush"), conducted bisexual affairs, and made her career painting members of high society. Even as it's clearly a painting of Tamara de Lempicka specifically, it's also universal--she made herself the archetype of the independent, liberated, modern woman. And I got to "try that on" in this copy, lucky me.

Glamorous women driving cars was a whole aesthetic in 1920s fashion--you can see it repeated in lots of vintage fashion magazines. There were specific outfits for driving, involving a coat to keep the dust off (that you could color coordinate with your car if you wanted), goggles to protect your eyes, and gloves (that you actually would keep in the glove compartment.) There's some more info in this Racked article, and this episode of the Dressed podcast.

Reference image from WikiArt. The original of this painting is now in a private collection.

﴾ Back to full gallery ﴿