The news of this most recent passing first caught my attention on The Book. A friend was posting a couple of pics of her favorite work by this artist. I was trying to recollect why the style looked so familiar to me. Then it came to me. Even more so when I saw his picture.
Iconic American artist Leroy Neiman passed away Wednesday in New York. Cause of death was not immediately known. He was 91-years-old.
Neiman became famous for was known for his painted renditions of renown sporting events. The colorful strokes that he used to give the paintings a pop feel to it created a style very distinctly his own. It easily became his trademark. If there was such a thing as the Andy Warhol of sports paintings then it would have been Neiman.
The one painting that I instantly recalled when I saw some of his work was the one from "Rocky III". Every true Rocky fan should know it. It was from the very last scene when Rocky had to make good on that favor he owed Apollo. The painting captured the very instant the two of them exchanged blows in their private fight. It closed out the movie as the final scene on screen. I wouldn't mind having a copy of that print.
I didn't even realize until later (and by "later" I mean just this week) that the same guy who painted that also had a role in a couple of the "Rocky" films. He was the ring announcer in "Rocky IV" and the fight announcer in "Rocky V". I knew I recognized that handlebar mustache. What I didn't realize was how old he was. I would have guessed from his appearance in those flicks that he was in his 50s at best. Apparently he would have to have been in his late 60s. Painting must keep one looking young.
Rest in peace, LeRoy.