Steely Pretty Things

Her portraits simply drip glamour—the wealthy and celebrated of the day posed for Tamara de Lempicka, and her striking oils capture their red lipstick, perfect nails and skin as glossy as their satin dresses. Some art authorities dismiss De Lempicka (1898-1980), a Polish-Russian painter who flourished in '20s and '30s Paris, as a purveyor of kitsch and leave her out of their histories of 20th century art. Others see her as an icon whose work captured the spirit of the Art Deco age. Not surprisingly, many of her fans today are from the glamour set: present-day collectors include Madonna and Jack...

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