Who Was Tamara de Lempicka? Quotes and Facts About the 'Baroness With a Brush' Celebrated in Today's Google Doodle

A portrait of the painter Tamara de Lempicka is shown during an exhibition 04 May 2007 in Vigo. Lempicka captured the essence of modernism and the Art Deco spirit in Paris during 20's and 30's. She developed a bold style which epitomized the cool modernism of Art Deco, depicting large expressionless women -- often nude -- with nails and lips impeccably made up, against backgrounds of curtains or skyscrapers. MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images

Tamara de Lempicka's 120th birthday is celebrated by today's Google Doodle with a design inspired by the highly stylised Art Deco work of the artist herself.

Born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1898, Lempicka developed her artistic side on a trip to Italy in 1911, which she took while boarded at a school in Switzerland. The next year her parents divorced and she was sent to St. Petersburg to live with her aunt.

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In Russia she met her first husband. Along with other members of her family they escaped the revolution by fleeing to Paris. It was there that her artistic life began to flourish, under expert tutelage she developed her notable style and began exhibiting and taking commissions.

Along with her colorful depictions of the roaring twenties, Lempicka was a notorious socialite and later took to painting portraits of the wealthy elite in Paris and then America, where she settled with her second husband after escaping war in Europe.

In Los Angeles, New York City and Houston, Lempicka continued her stylistic painting, later turning to more abstract themes as her milieu grew. She moved to Mexico in the 1970s where, after a period of declining health, she died in 1980 during her sleep.

"Few artists embodied the exuberant roaring twenties more than Polish artist Tamara de Lempicka," Google Doodle artist Matthew Cruickshank said. "Her fast-paced, opulent lifestyle manifests itself perfectly into the stylized Art Deco subjects she celebrated in her paintings."

A security guard sits next to a Tamara de Lempicka painting at Sotheby's preview of a major Russian art auctions in New York and London, at the Russian Academy of Arts in Moscow October 19, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov

"I first encountered Lempicka's work at her Royal Academy show in London, 2004. I was struck by the scale and skill of her paintings coupled with her life (as colorful as her work!). I chose to place a portrait of Lempicka in my design with accompanying motifs evocative of the roaring '20s and '30s. It's no easy feat to recreate any artists work - but I hope to have done so here."

Known as 'The Baroness with a Brush' after marrying her second husband, Baron Raoul Kuffner, Lempicka famously said: "I live life in the margins of society, and the rules of normal society don't apply to those who live on the fringe."

Of her own work, she said: "Among a hundred paintings, you could recognize mine, my goal was: Do not copy. Create a new style, ...colors light and bright, return to elegance in my models."

"I have painted kings and prostitutes," she noted another time, "I don't paint people because they are famous. I paint those who inspire me and make me vibrate."