Catherine Abel Rose
6 min

Avant-Garde Amazons Of Catherine Abel, A Passionate Follower Of Tamara de Lempicka

6 min

The avant-garde painter Tamara de Lempicka, “the baroness with a brush,” is a favorite artist of Madonna, Jack Nicholson, and Barbara Streisand. Her "salon cubism" depicting strong women in the context of modern cities remains popular decades after her death and fascinates both collectors and artists. The self-taught painter Catherine Abel, whose paintings we examine in this article, says the following: "The work of Tamara de Lempicka captured my heart and set my imagination aflame when I first saw her incredible paintings in a book back in the mid-90s - I remember the day very clearly. It was a moment of truth; a turning point. Tamara, then and there, became my teacher and I've never looked back. Her paintings taught me how to paint" (

Catherine Abel  Eden

Fig. 1. Eden (

Tamara Lempicka Andromeda,

Fig. 2. Tamara Lempicka Andromeda, 1928 (

Left: Catherine Abel Guilding the Lily; right: Tamara Lempicka Les Arums

Fig. 3. Left: Catherine Abel Guilding the Lily; right: Tamara Lempicka Les Arums.

Tamara Lempicka Seated Nude With Buildings In The Background,

Fig. 4. Tamara Lempicka Seated Nude With Buildings In The Background, 1930 (

Catherine Abel Fireplace

Fig. 5. Fireplace (

Pursuing a Dream

Catherine Abel is an Australian artist combining Art Deco and avant-garde approaches. In her interview, Catherine describes herself as a self-taught painter who lacks formal training. She confesses that, falling pregnant at 19, she hasn't had an opportunity to manifest her creativity until her thirties. Nevertheless, the sparkle of a childhood enthusiasm for painting wasn't lost through the years. Raising a daughter, Catherine felt an aspiration to become an artist, so she began self-training when the daughter was a teenager. The absence of formal artistic education was eventually compensated by the artist's perseverance. Now her works are presented in private collections worldwide. Catherine Abel lives and works in Victoria.

Catherine Abel Green Curtain

Fig. 6. Green Curtain (

Catherine Abel Moulin Rouge I

Fig. 7. Moulin Rouge I (

 Catherine Abel Catherine Abel Moulin Rouge II

Fig. 8. Moulin Rouge II (

Catherine Abel Reclining Nude

Fig. 9. Reclining Nude (

 Catherine Abel Seated Nude

Fig. 10. Seated Nude (

A Teacher and a Student

As Catherine says, she creates a softer, more feminine version of Lempicka's independent heroines. Her style also looks softer or smoother. While the cubist shapes of Lempicka's women resemble ancient statues of goddesses of fertility, Catherine Abel depicts her females closer to the tradition of Art Deco, which can be proved by the distinctive setting in Allure and some other paintings. Interestingly, Allure blends Lempicka's motifs (Les Arums) with the decorativeness of Kuhn-Régnier or Barbier. Works like Noveau Rose combine the image of Art Deco's elegant yet fragile beauty with the cubist relief of fabrics and the background. The atmosphere of a megapolis with its' machinery, buildings, ships, and bridges appearing in Abel's paintings is rooted in the futuristic spirit of those times. The more classic approach to depicting the curved female body contrasts with the avant-garde cubist background.

Catherine Abel The Beauty of Her

Fig. 11. The Beauty of Her (

Catherine Abel Le Reve

Fig. 12. Le Reve (

Catherine Abel Rose

Fig. 13. Rose (

Catherine Abel Orange Scarf

Fig. 14. Orange Scarf (

Catherine Abel Sun Worshipper I

Fig. 15. Sun Worshipper I (

Catherine Abel Catherine Abel Sun Worshipper II

Fig. 16. Sun Worshipper II (

Catherine Abel Kiki Among the Poppies

Fig. 17. Kiki Among the Poppies (

Catherine Abel Allure

Fig. 18. Allure (

Golden Era Goddess

Though now Catherine Abel seems to withdraw from this manner and choose what she calls Multiplicitism, the profound love for the art of that time is what her works are full of. Among her paintings, there's even a portrait of Kiki de Montparnasse, a muse of poets, painters, and photographers of the beginning of the XXth century (fig. 17). As Catherine says, "The subjects in my paintings are women that have attracted me for one reason or another; women on the street, in a cafe, shopping. Something captured me about their face or the way in which they moved their body and I think > I want to paint her. It's been a kind of ritual - taking an 'everyday' contemporary woman into my studio and transforming her into a Golden Era goddess."

Catherine Abel Lemon Scented Summer

Fig. 19. Lemon Scented Summer (

Catherine Abel The Porthole

Fig. 20. The Porthole (

catherine abel Postcards From Paris

Fig. 21. Postcards From Paris (

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