Archive for October 12, 2012

Artist of the moment……LeRoy Neiman…

Neiman was a wonderful expressionist artist known for his paintings of musicians and athletic events.

A clip that was done by the American Association of Retired Persons did this clip on the artist.

A great interview done with a New York television station in 2011.

A short montage of the artist’s work.  In this clip you can see his fantastic paintings of animals. I love the cheetah’s and had never seen them painted with so much color.

Neiman was born in 1921 Minnesota. At the time his last name was Runquist. His mother later divorced his father and the artist took the surname of his stepfather.

The artist was involved in World War II, serving in the army and working as a cook. After World War II, the artist took advantage of the G.I. Bill and attended college at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After finishing college, the artist was part of the school’s faculty for ten years.  Later in his life the artist donated five million dollars and has a center for him named at his alma mater.

During the 1950s the artist met Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner. At the time Hefner was a writer for well known clothing chain named Carson Pirie Scott and had yet to start Playboy magazine.  Neiman was doing freelance illustration for the clothing chain whilst Hefner was writing for it.  After starting the magazine and for its fifth edition Hefner commissioned an illustration by Neiman. Neiman went on to be associated with the magazine for more than fifty years. One of his assignments was to paint his travels to his exotic locales like Monaco and paint them in his signature expressionistic style.

Starting in 1960 the artist added sports and athletic events to his subject matter. He created many prints for events like the Olympics, the Superbowl, the World Series, the Kentucky Derby, the Masters Golf Tournament, many boxing title events, and even Wimbledon.


Nieman worked in such mediums as drypoint, acrylics, etching, oils, watercolor, and bronze.

Price ranges:  The artist was a very prolific as far as output, and painted many prints to celebrate special occasions such as sporting events and even the signing of a peace treaty that took place at the White House. Many editions can be found from one hundred to one thousand dollars.

Part of many musuem collections worldwide including the Whitney, the Smithsonian, the State Hermitage Museum in Russia, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and Wadham College in Oxford, England.

High price range:  $146,500 for an oil painting titled Vegas that measured nearly 50 by 60 inches. Original oil Stretch Stampede about the Kentucky Derby sold for $500,000.

The artist passed away in June of this year at the age of 91 years old.

In closing this artist was my first taste of fine art mixed with sports. I had seen previous artists such as George Bellows, but they didn’t paint very much outside of a certain subject, boxers for instance. This artist took it to another level by representing a variety of sporting events as well as his own personal travels around the globe. A master businessman as well. His annual print revenues generated more than 1o million dollars in sales annually. I was sorry to hear about him passing in June of this year.


Another contemporary artist who loves to paint boxers and the male figure would be Steve Huston.


Try drawing or painting your favorite athlete for a great challenge!