Two striking eyes stare directly at all visitors to Google's homepage today. Those eyes belong to Tamara de Lempicka, the Polish painter the search engine is honouring with a Doodle that embodies Art Deco style, which Lempicka helped define. The homepage design incorporates the art form's smooth lines and geometric shapes, and places the artist at the centre, with a lone paintbrush above her head.
Lempicka was born Maria Gorska in Warsaw in 1898. According to Google's Doodle Blog she developed an early interest in the arts while spending time with her aunt in Italy and later Russia. She met her future husband in St. Petersburg. Shortly after marrying, the couple escaped to Paris at the height of the Russian Revolution in 1917.
In the city of lights, Lempicka persued her artistic inclination and studied painting with the French artists Maurice Denis and André Lhote. She participated in Parisian salons, where creatives congregated to share ideas, and her style began to evolve: Expressive portraits gave way to abstract shapes and works showing intertwined bodies. Lempicka hit her stride as an artist during the roaring twenties, with her distinctive pieces mixing elements of Cubism and neoclassical styles.
Prior to the start of World War II, she picked up and moved again — this time to Hollywood, where she was a favourite among celebrities. She later moved to New York City. After her husband's death, she relocated to Cuernavaca, Mexico until her death in 1980. Today marks Lempicka's 120th birthday.