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LeRoy Neiman

Born on June 8, 1921 in St. Paul, Minnesota, LeRoy Neiman grew up to become one of the most popular contemporary artists in the United States. Well-known for his vibrantly colored, motion-filled images of sporting events and leisure activities, Neiman's artistic style is recognizable to a very broad demographic of Americans that are "rich and poor, black and white, urban and rural, educated and illiterate." Neiman started out with humble beginnings and would later joke that he had met the four prerequisites for becoming a great artist: starting life in poverty, coming from a broken home, dropping out of high school, and having an undistinguished military career.

Neiman's art career first began when the GI Bill allowed him to formally study art at St. Paul Art Center and later the Chicago Institute of Art. After completing his studies, Neiman drew illustrations for fashion magazines, a job that would soon land him work at the newly-founded Playboy Magazine, where he wrote and drew for a feature called "Man At His Leisure." After this partnership, Neiman's career took off - perhaps most notably, he was honored with the position of being the official artist at five Olympic Games. Over the course of his career, millions of people have watched him in action: on ABC TV coverage of the Olympics, The Super Bowl, the World Series, PGA tournaments, boxing matches, and Wimbledon, among others. Neiman found painting sporting events particularly rewarding because sports are “all color and movement, a world of numbers, flags and geometric surfaces. It is a universe of green, from the gaming tables to the gridiron.”

Neiman's talents have since been honored by five honorary doctorate degrees and a Lifetime Achievement award from the University of Southern California. He also established the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies at Columbia University. With such an easily-recognizable prodigious talent, Neiman's works can be found in the homes of private collectors, as well as the Smithsonian, the Whitney Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the State Hermitage Museum in Russia, and Wadham College at Oxford.

LeRoy Neiman passed away on June 20, 2012 at age 91, weeks after the publication of his autobiography All Told: My Art and Life Among Athletes, Playboys, Bunnies, and Provocateurs.