LeRoy Neiman was an American artist known for his brilliantly colored, expressionistic paintings and screen prints of images of sporting events, musicians and leisure activities. LeRoy Neiman was one of the most popular living artists in the United States before his passing in June 2012.
Neiman was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Neiman studied briefly at the St. Paul School of Art, then at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago on the G.I. Bill. After graduating, Neiman served on the Art Institute faculty for ten years. During the time Neiman was teaching, he was exhibiting art in competitions and winning prizes. In 1954, Neiman began his association with Playboy Magazine. Neiman had met Hugh Hefner while doing freelance fashion illustration for the Carson Pirie Scott department store chain, where Hefner was a writer. Hefner and Playboy art director Art Paul commissioned an illustration for the magazine's fifth edition. Among Neiman's contribution over the next 50 years, he created the Femlin character for the Party Jokes page, and did a feature for 15 years titled "Man at His Leisure," where Neiman would paint illustrations of his travels to exotic locations.
Beginning in 1960, he traveled the world observing and painting leisure life, social activities and athletic competitions including the Olympics, the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Kentucky Derby, championship boxing, PGA and The Masters golf tournament, The Ryder Cup, the World Equestrian Games, Wimbledon and other Grand Slam competitions, as well as night life, entertainment, jazz and the world of casino gambling. In 1998 he did all the illustrations for a special "Sports" issue of The Nation magazine. He received five honorary doctorates and numerous awards, a recent Lifetime achievement award from the University of Southern California, an induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and proclamations and citations. He received The Order of Lincoln award on the 200th birthday celebration of Abraham Lincoln given by The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. He has authored twelve books of his art. A documentary on his jazz painting, "The Big Band," had its world premiere in Los Angeles in February 2009. Neiman worked in oil, enamel, watercolor, pencil drawings and pastels.
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 online distributors. His work is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian, the Whitney Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the State Hermitage Museum in Russia, Wadham College at Oxford and in museums and art galleries all over the world, as well as in private and corporate collections.