Paris, 1927, a day in July. A destitute young American named Rafaela Fano gets into the car of a dazzling stranger, the Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka. Struggling to halt a downward slide toward prostitution, Rafaela agrees to model for the artist. The two become lovers, and Rafaela inspires Tamara’s most accomplished and prized works of art, including Beautiful Rafaela, “one of the most important nudes of the twentieth century” (New York Times).
The relationship between the artist and her muse lasted less than a year, yet in 1980, just before Tamara died, she was working on a copy of Beautiful Rafaela. Author Ellis Avery imagines their affair from Rafaela’s point of view, and the final day of Tamara’s life from the painter’s point of view. A window into Jazz Age Paris as the forces of history close in, The Last Nude is a story of genius and craft, art and money, friendship and desire.