LeRoy Neiman joins Thomas Kinkade in Bad Art Heaven

I just sent this obit out from work; mind you, I have to remain somewhat professional in my job:

I saw the headline last night. Timely, because one of his paintings was just on Pawn Stars.

Is it sad that I just said that?


Did you write up anything when Patrick Nagel died - the 80’s Playboy artist with the “Robert Palmer Girl” prints?

There’s something about Neiman I kinda liked. Not his art, more that his mustache went along with his art. If you are going to jump into what you are doing, go all the way.

I can only send out obits of people whose photos we have in our collection, to send out to the media–so a lot of people I would love to obit (no, that doesn’t sound right) I don’t get to write about.

I have to keep them very short, as we are plugging our photos, not my writing! I had a coworker de-bitch this one before it went out, you shoulda seen the first draft.

You should never de-bitch anything, Eve! That’s like giving Samson a haircut.

Can you share any part of the fully-bitched one??

I wouldn’t list him as Thomas Kinkade-bad. But he was the house artist for a house that didn’t know as much about art (and everything else) as it liked to think it did; the Playboy Mansion. Hardly the only person who sold his or her ass for a seat at Hefner’s free-hamburger banquet.

Compare the JFK portrait by LeRoy Neiman, who had no credibility in the legitimate art world, with Elaine de Kooning’s, who did. Me, I see some difference, but not much.

From the OP’s quote:

Three figures doesn’t sound like a lot to me ($100-999), and unless he turned out a dozen a day, doesn’t seem to justify Neiman’s millions in donations. This article, also from the NY Times, suggests a better price range and income source (bolding mine):

Thank god the de-bitcher left this:

The Encyclopedia of Bad Taste, a wonderful book, has a one-page entry on Neiman that manages to be both factual and snarky. It reprints the review one car magazine gave to his book effort, Monte Carlo Chase, which praised the binding and number of psages.
I liked his stuff, as did lots of other folks (including one past boss, who had two of his pruints framed in his office), but recognize his place in the world of art. As TEoBD observed, his biggest crime was being loved by people who admittedly didn’t know art.
He’ll be missed. Who the hell is going to draw Playbnoy’s Femlin every month NOW?

By the way, Eve, the editor* in me bristles as this:

If he was 91, it’s not surprising that he died at age 91, and it seems like harping if you repeat it.

*I really am a Contributing Editor, which allows me to scold authors about their writing, although not to get paid for the privilege. You’re not one of the authors I get to complain about, but I like to think I can provide gentle correction on my own time.

Fuck. See, I cannot copy edit my own stuff (no one can!), and the *good *proofreader is out this week, so the (obviously) *not *so good proofreader went over this. I gotta go hit him on the head.

I agree that Kinkade was a worse artist: Neiman at least had some kitsch value; Kinkade’s stuff looked like it was painted by an evil teddy bear, using another evil teddy bear as a brush.


But Kinkade was a local celebrity where I live and we’re treated to the estate fight pretty much every day in the news. His legacy is not quite gone yet. The wife, the girlfriend, the children. That dude had oodles of cash, and the vultures are circling.

I love this description of Kinkade!

Thanks . . . proofreader duly hit on head . . . It’s too late to fix, it’s gone out, and that one little mistake ruins the whole obit for me. Fuck.


If it makes you feel any better, look at all the typos in my post. Schadenfreude is the best I can offer.

You might consider Neiman and Kincade “bad,” but at least I “get” what they’re painting. Compared to Mark Rothko, for example, which just leaves me scratching my head.

So last night we were watching Pawn Stars from Monday night which (as mentioned above) featured a LeRoy Neiman print. I thought to myself, “I know LeRoy is pretty old, is he even still alive?”

I Googled his name to find out if he was still around, and the first thing I find is notice of his death on the same day I’m checking to see if he’s alive. Such a strange coincidence.

(cue Twilight Zone theme)

I have to say that I’ve always enjoyed his art. Nothing amazing, but it had a quality to it that I like.

Someone once made a joke about producing a Mike Rothko Paint-by-Number set.

Oh, well, I cannot stand him or Willem De Koonig, either. I’m strictly a Titian, Ingres and Holbein girl.

Ingres? You mean the guy who made this poor gal’s small-of-the-back two feet long and one leg shorter than the other?

While Ingre’s was nowhere near as bad as Neiman’s idea of a female nude, have a look at R.B. Kitaj

Actually, with both Ingres and Holbein, I prefer his drawings to his paintings: http://chawedrosin.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/ingltier.jpg