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LeRoy Neiman (born June 8, 1921) is an Americanmarker artist known for his brilliantly colored, semi-abstract paintings and screen prints of athletes and sporting events.

Early years

Neiman was born in Saint Paul, Minnesotamarker and was abandoned by his father at an early age. Neiman and his mother, Lydia, were forced to fend for themselves. Neiman distinguished himself by drawing.

In 1942, Neiman left high school to enlist in the US Army, where he spent four years before returning to St. Paul to finish his high school degree.

Neiman studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicagomarker (where he also later taught), the University of Chicagomarker, and the University of Illinoismarker.

Playboy magazine and beyond

Neiman worked as an illustrator for department store Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co. in Chicago in the early 1950s alongside a copywriter named Hugh Hefner. After Hefner started Playboy magazine in 1953, Neiman's artwork was featured in several issues. To this day, Neiman continues to illustrate the "Femlin", a Playboy character that is featured every month on the jokes page. Neiman's early success is largely considered to be a direct result of his friendship with Hefner.

LeRoy Neiman continued to win major art awards and wide acceptance with the public. He became famous largely because of highly exposed sports art (in large part due to his association with Playboy magazine) and has opened the doors for other artists in the field. He is considered by many the premier sports artist in the world challenged only in recent years by younger artists Stephan Holland and Richard T. Slone. Neiman produces about six different serigraph subjects a year, generally priced from $3,000 to $6,000 each. Gross annual sales of new serigraphs alone top $10 million. Originals can sell for up to $500,000 for works such as "Stretch Stampede," a mammoth 1975 oil painting of the Kentucky Derby bearing that price tag. In addition to being an internationally renowned sports artist, Neiman has created many works from his experience on safari, including a series of animal portraits that are some of his most sought-after pieces, including "Portrait of the Lion," "Portrait of the Elephant," and "Portrait of the Tiger." Some of his other subjects include sailing, cuisine, golf, boxing, horses, celebrities, famous locations, and America at play. Much of his work has been done for Playboy Magazine, for which he still illustrates monthly.

Neiman works in oil, enamel, watercolor, pencil drawings, pastels, serigraphy and some lithographs and etching. In 2007, he was presented with the Sport Artist of the Year Award from the United States Sports Academy. Neiman is listed in Art Collector's Almanac, Who's Who in the East, Who's Who in American Art, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World. His works have been displayed in museums, sold at auctions, and displayed in galleries and major online distributors. He has begun to join the ranks of artists whose works can command prices over $100,000 for original works. At the December 2003 Christies auction of Playboy archives, his 1969 painting "Man at his leisure: Le Mans" sold for $107,550, a record for his paintings.

His works are distributed by Hammer Graphics (who have represented him for over 35 years) and Knoedler Publishing Co. of New York and sold by many galleries and dealers.

Personal life

Neiman, and his wife of over 50 years (married in 1957), Janet (née Byrne), live in New York City at the Hotel des Artistes, their home base for some 33 years. Made up of double-height rooms that overlook Central Parkmarker, this exclusive New York City landmark was originally intended for painters. Norman Rockwell once lived there, as well as celebrities Rudolph Valentino, Noel Coward and ex-mayor John Lindsay. Neiman's painting studio, offices, and home are on one floor, his archives on another, his penthouse at the top.

Neiman continues to paint.

See also


  • Leroy Neiman Art and Life Style: ISBN 0-9600-692-3-2

External links


  1. Valdes-Dapena, Peter, "Playboy art: Sex sells", CNN/Money (December 18, 2003)

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