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    Tamara de Lempicka Nu adossé I ($3/5 million). Click on image to enlarge. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $5,458,500

    Every collector’s dream of owning an undiscovered masterpiece came true for one West Coast art lover. Knowing nothing of the artist but appreciating the quality of the work a US collector bought a painting and kept it at home for a decade. It was in fact a lost work by Tamara de Lempicka, described in the catalogue raisonné of the artist, published in 1999, as location unknown.  The Modern masterpiece Nu adossé I will be offered by Sotheby’s on May 2 in New York and is estimated at $3-5 million.

    The work, a classic example of the artist’s aesthetic, was included in her groundbreaking solo exhibition at Milan’s Bottegia di Poesia gallery in 1925, the year it was painted. It was known only from a photograph of that show. Afterwards it effectively disappeared. Sotheby’s was contacted by the owner late last year. He described finding the work many years before and, while not realizing its importance at the time, he had appreciated its aesthetic appeal. A decade later the owner learned that he possibly owned an original Lempicka. An art consultant advised him to contact Sotheby’s. Following first-hand inspection and subsequent research, the work was confirmed to be the lost Lempicka.

    Tamara de Lempicka was a pioneering artist who occupied an important position in ‘Roaring Twenties’ Paris. Her aesthetic embodied the spirit of the Art Deco era and its sense of style and modernity. Nu adossé I is coming to market at a time of unprecedented interest in the artist. Over the course of the past year, several new benchmarks have been set for Lempicka’s work at Sotheby’s – in June 2011, a new auction record was set for the artist when her La dormeuse sold for $6.6 million. Five months later, that record was broken again at Sotheby’s when Le rêve achieved $8.5 million.

    UPDATE: IT MADE $5,458,500

    (See posts on for February 21 and April 5 2012)

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