Tamara De Lempicka was an Art Deco painter in the early twentieth century. One of her works, ‘My Portrait,’ depicts De Lempicka in a green Bugatti with a large amount of flowing cloth packed into the vehicle. There is a large amount of color contrast in the image, ranging from her vibrant ruby lips to the paler shades in her clothes. The greens and teals of her car are also notable, as they really define a significant portion of the composition.
A wide tonal contrast also exists with nearly everything in the scene ranging from black to white. This effectively becomes De Lempicka’s style where all objects have their own gradation between lights and darks. Because of this, everything in her composition has a level of similarity to it, as they are all related through their high levels of individual contrast. This style of painting also creates an almost metallic texture on everything from her skin to her clothes.
There is a solid vertical line stretching across the side of the composition, which improves the balance of the piece. This balance is achieved through having a high point of attention, her face, on the rightmost third, while her clothes carry the other two thirds on the left. The diagonal line below implies motion coming from the Bugatti, whereas if this line were horizontal, the vehicle would appear stationary. It also encourages the principle of continuation as it forces the eye to flow through the vertical window frame, towards the arm and into her hand.
De Lempicka, Tamara. “My Portrait,” Oil on Wood Panel, 1929.
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