Tuesday Art Attack- Leroy Neiman "Micky Mantle (1999)"
Posted on May 05 2015
Leroy Neiman was born June 8th, 1921 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. When he was a child his mother divorced his father, so Neiman was mostly raised by his father Charles. He spent his whole childhood growing up in the rural areas surrounding St. Paul. At the start of World War II Neiman enlisted in the army where he served as a cook. While serving as a cook his artistic talents earned him a position designing sets and costumes for the performances put on by the Red Cross for the troops. Returning home from the war in 1946, Neiman under the G.I bill, studied at the St. Paul School of Art and later the Art Institute of Chicago. Once graduating Neiman served on the faculty of the Art Institute of Chicago for ten years.
While teaching at the Art Institute Neiman was also showing his work in competitions and exhibits earning him a lot of publicity. At this time in 1954 Neiman began his relationship with the Playboy Magazine. Neiman had met Hugh Hefner while working as a freelance artist doing illustrations for the Carson Pirie Scott department store. Hefner commissioned an illustration from Neiman for Playboy Magazine's fifth issue. The illustration was a success and Neiman built a working relationship with the magazine that would last 50 years.
In the 1960s Neiman began to travel around the world and draw inspiration from activities of leisure, in particular sporting events. He would observe, boxing matches, golf tournaments, football games, even the Olympics. This new focus on sports made Neiman's work more accessible for the common man. As he built on this series of works he received more acclaim form the athletic and artistic community. He received five honorary doctorates and a life time achievement award from USC. Neiman also received induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and The Order of Lincoln Award.
In 1998 he was commissioned to do a series of illustrations for a special issue of The Nation magazine. This launched Neiman even deeper into the eye of the common sports loving american. Neiman continued to work with this subject matter in varying medium ranging from oil, enamel, watercolor, charcoal, and serigraphy until the end of his life on June 20th, 2012.