Negotiating the Gendered Margins of Modernity: Tamara de Lempicka and Her Iconic Female Forms

Master's Thesis


In its entirety, the vibrant life of Tamara de Lempicka reads like a screenplay for a major motion picture produced during the Golden Years of Hollywood. Her personal anecdotes from this particular historical period recount her experiences as the physical embodiment of the quintessential New Woman of the interwar years. In this role, Lempicka independently maneuvered through a variety of public spaces in modern Paris to stage her own melodrama full of intrigue, sex, and complete excess. This thesis, however, spotlights one chapter of Lempicka’s elaborate story Ì¢âÂ" the height of her artistic popularity in the mid 1920s and 1930s. In this period, Lempicka depicted Art Deco icons of modernity, fashioning her women into immense, decorated bodies situated in modern, yet ambiguous spaces of femininity. Working within and around this framework of constructed spaces, I argue for an appreciation of Tamara de Lempicka as a successful modern artist who, through both her images of modern women and her life as a bisexual public figure, contributed significantly to the discourse of gender in modernity. I argue that Lempicka created her vision of gender to respond to the flux of gender identities at this historical moment.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-04172008-140300

Author Allison Ann Muscolino
Advisor Kathleen Pyne
Contributor Charles M. Rosenberg, Committee Member
Contributor Kathleen Pyne, Committee Chair
Contributor Terri Weissman, Committee Member
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Art, Art History, and Design
Degree Name MA
Defense Date
  • 2008-04-18

Submission Date 2008-04-17
  • United States of America

  • modernity

  • bisexual

  • identity

  • lesbian

  • gender

  • art

  • lempicka

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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