Tamara de Lempicka's Art Deco masterpiece to fetch £12 million at Christie's

Tamara de Lempicka, 'Portrait de Marjorie Ferry' (1932)

Lempicka's "Portrait de Marjorie Ferry" will be offered during Christie's Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale on February 5.

"Portrait de Marjorie Ferry" is one of Lempicka's most iconic paintings, as it reflects the bold figurative style that turned the Polish-born artist into the most sought-after portraitist of the late 1920s and 1930s.

This Art Deco-influenced portrait was commissioned by the husband of the British-born cabaret star Marjorie Ferry at the height of Lempicka's fame in Paris.

At the time, the artist had forged her own classical figure style by combining stylistic traits drawn from French Cubism, post-war Purism and Neoclassicism and her early study of Italian masters.

This pictorial manner was acutely attuned to the extravagance and hedonism of "les années folles," arousing interest among wealthy Europeans and Americans with an eye for classicized modernism.

Among them were American industrialist and heir-to-millions Rufus T. Bush, who commissioned Lempicka to paint his newlywed wife, Sarah Hall, in October 1929.

"I was the first woman who did clear painting -- and that was the success of my painting. Among a hundred paintings, you could recognize mine. And the galleries began to put me in the best rooms, always in the center, because my painting attracted people. It was neat, it was finished," Lempicka once declared.

"Portrait de Marjorie Ferry" is now hitting the auction block for the first time in a decade, returning to the market after being acquired by an anonymous collector for $4.9 million at Sotheby's New York in 2009.

The masterpiece is expected to sell for between £8 million and £12 million (around $10.4 million and $15.6 million), possibly surpassing Lempicka's current auction record of $13.4 million.

This record price was set by "La Tunique Rose" last November during Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale in New York.

Lempicka's "Portrait de Marjorie Ferry" will be on public view starting on January 30 at Christie's London galleries, before co-leading the house's Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale with Picasso's "Intérieur au pot de fleurs" (valued up to £10 million).