Madonna celebrating Lempicka


The artists’ success does not always come from a pompous article of an enlightened art critic. Sometime your artworks can become famous just because some VIPS love art – in particular your art. That’s the case of Tamara de Lempicka (take a look at her art here): she was already well-known in the field, but her art got revalued and more appreciated because some celibrities bought her paintings.


The singer Madonna in 1990 declared: “I have a ton of her paintings in New York. I have a Lempicka museum”. This could be a little exaggerated, she has 4 Tamara’s artworks… but you know, Madonna hasn’t half-measures.

The actor Jack Nicholson has 5 paintings of Lempicka too, but we don’t know which ones. He is one of the greatest Hollywood art collectors, with masterpieces of a total value of 100 million dollars!

In 1994 Barbra Streisand sold at Christie’s auction her Art Déco and Art Nouveau collection for 5,8 million dollars… 2 millions came from only one painting: Adam and Eve, by Tamara de Lempicka. Barbara was definitely satisfied with this sale: she bought the painting for just 135 thousand dollars ten years before.


Barbara sold her Lempicka, but Madonna would never do that! She really loves Tamara’s style and also what she represents: an indipendent woman that lived for art, emancipated and free from any prejudice. That’s the reason why Madonna puts Tamara’s artworks in her music videos and in the sets of her world tours.


She started in 1987 with the music video of Open your heart: during the first ten seconds you can see the entrance of the erotic theatre decorated with a collage of two Tamara’s paintings: Andromeda and La belle Rafaela.




Andromeda (1928)                      |                          La Belle Rafaela (1927)



Also the opening of Vogue music video is full of Lempicka’s artworks, but here they’re not modified: on classical easels you can see the perfect reproductions of The musician, La Belle Rafela, Nana de Herrera and Andromeda . This video is completly inspired by Art Déco, glamour and the Golden Age of Hollywood, that’ why it’s in black-and-white. For example, besides Lempicka, there are also reconstructions of some photos by the German-American photographer Horst P. Horst.




Nana de Herrera (1929)                             |                                  The musician (1929)


Lastly, in Drowned World/Substitute for Love Madonna crosses a corridor with two paintings hanging on the walls, one of which is Nana de Herrera.


As you’ve probably noticed the paintings are always the same. Not because Madonna doesn’t know any others, but because that are the Lempicka’s artworks she owns and hangs on the walls of her New York house: Andromeda, Nana de Herrera, Nue à la colombe, and probably an other mysterious one.


The art collection of Madonna is full of masterpieces, not just Lempicka: she owns pieces of Léger, Basquiat, Man Ray, Frida Khalo, Picasso, Damien Hirst…

In an interview for Aperture Magazine, in 1998 she said: “Every video I’ve ever done has been inspired by some painting or some work of art”… Well, I’m not going to list them all – find them yourself!


Valentina Pizzi