American, Born 1926
LeRoy Neiman is probably the most popular painter and printmaker in America. He was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and then studied at the Art Institute of Chicago where he also taught for 10 years before moving to New York in 1962. His subject matter is that of a "pop" artist who is fond of rendering what people enjoy doing in their leisure hours, particularly the world of sports and entertainment. However, his style is filled with the dramatic intensity of Abstract Expressionist brush strokes, strokes that pick out action that are strikingly accurate.
Neiman has been the official artist for ABC Television at the Olympic Games of 1972 and 1976, and CBS Artist at the New Orleans Superbowl of 1978.
But it is his prints that are most loved by Neiman collectors. During the 1970's he published over 180 Limited Editions of serigraphs which have become as much sought after as the prints of Miro, Chagall, and Picasso.
By his own account, LeRoy Neiman works very hard, has no hobbies, and does not take vacations. He paints in a double-height studio in the Hotel des Artistes, a landmark New York City building across the street from one of his favorite subjects--Central Park. In the same building he maintains an office; a penthouse pied-a-terre; and an apartment that he shares with his best friend--his wife, the former Janet Byrne, whom he married on June 22, 1957. His archives, which he is currently assembling for preservation at the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C., are also kept there.
His signature black handlebar mustache and luxuriant slicked-back hair are now peppered with gray, and he is seldom photographed without his trademark prop, a long cigar. Described by Malcolm Lein as quiet and warm, for many years he cultivated a reputation as a flamboyant man-about-town. "I like being outrageous. . .," he acknowledged to Pete Dexter for Esquire (July 1984). "I don't actually do anything, except be conspicuous. It keeps me revved up." In the New Yorker (February 5, 1979), he was quoted as saying, "My performance is part of my success."
A member of the New York City Advisory Commission for Cultural Affairs since 1995, Neiman has received four honorary degrees and, among other honors, an Award of Merit from the American Athletic Union (1976), a Gold Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement (1977), and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Muscular Dystrophy Association (1986). Through the years he has donated scores of his artworks to charitable organizations, and in 1995 he gave the School of the Arts at Columbia University, in New York City, a gift of $6 million to create the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies.
His work in now in the permanent collections of many museums including the Baltimore Museum of Fine Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Museo de Bellas Artes in Caracas, the Hermitage in Leningrad, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
When looking for an artist to paint the official painting for the FEI Alltech World Equestrian Games, LeRoy was an obvious choice. His worldwide reputation and unique style has made Leroy a household name not only in Sporting Art but in the ranks of great American painters as well.
2008 Ryder Cup, Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, KY
Oil on Canvas
30" x 44"
Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin
Game 6 of the 1977 World Series
Mixed Media on Paper
10.5" x 13.5"