Thursday, June 21, 2012
Popular art, expired.
LeRoy Neiman, the king of sixties shlock painting, has died at the age of 91. It would be hard to think of any artist more defined by their era. Discordant colors, guaranteed to sear your retina. Above is a painting of Sonny, Cher and pre op Chastity done in '71, without his customary hot pink signature hue. Rather somber, Cher is doing her best Morticia Adams impression for this one.
Neiman was evidently a pretty good guy. He endowed a number of institutions, donating $6 million in 1995 for the creation of the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies at Columbia University and $3 million to his alma mater, the Art Institute of Chicago, where he taught for a decade.
He also donated $1 million to create a permanent home for Arts Horizons, a community art center in Harlem.
Millard called and pointed out that Thomas Kinkade and Neiman had both died within a couple months of each other. Can Art Survive, he asks?
Kinkade was actually a pretty talented painter. This is a painting he did called Campfire at Night that sold at Bonhams and Butterfields in 2000.
Fairly subdued, touch of Sharp and Sydney Laurence. Here is another one that sold at Bonhams, bit cheesier and more saccharine but still competent.
Blackburn and I were talking about Kincade, the Painter of Light at the gym this morning and he pithily offered that Thomas might be the Kenny G of the whole movement.