by Dr. Lori Verderame
A great American artist, Leroy Neiman had a long and illustrious career. His highly recognizable art is known the world over. He was best known for his mastery of bringing a variety of diverse subjects, mainly sporting events and their athletes, to life.
A World War II veteran who quit high school to enlist in the army, Neiman lived from June 8, 1921 to June 20, 2012.
Largely self-taught as an artist, Neiman produced images for professional sports teams, the Olympic games, Playboy magazine, Sports Illustrated magazine, private collectors, museums, major fundraising events, etc. Neiman captured the spirit of the game and he loved sports. It shows in his artwork. Neiman was known to say that it was much more interesting to depict Willie Mays bat a ball than it was to paint some stuffy society lady. Like many of my generation, I had a Leroy Neiman sports poster in my bedroom growing up. His images were one with the American culture.
What to Look For
Like many other long living and prolific artists such as as Rembrandt, Harold Altman, Alexander Calder, and others, Leroy Neiman’s paintings were reproduced as lithographic prints and posters. The New York based firm of Knoedler published most of Neiman’s images, so look for their mark on authentic Neiman prints and posters. Also, Hammer Graphics works with Neiman on his prints too.
Mainly Neiman’s pieces were produced using offset printing which replaced expensive and labor intensive raised metal printing. This photographic based system of printmaking was popular from 1960 to 2000 and it uses a flat rubber mat to transfer an image onto a piece of paper.
Look for offset prints by Neiman which give a high image quality. These are so good that they could fool you into believing you have an original when you have a print. When trying to learn how to identify the markings on prints, it is important to understand the printers’ marks, notes, and abbreviations so you can properly spot an authentic work versus a fake. This is something I can help with if needed.
In offset printing, the colors and appearance of objects on all of the printed materials are the same. For example, no one color is lighter or darker when compared to another copy. This means that the finished product–each print in the print run–is consistent.
Subject matter is key too when it comes to Neiman works of art. Look for sports and historic competitions like the Olympics, Tour de France, Grand Prix, and famous sports figures like Michael Jordan, Joe Namath, etc.
Values of Leroy Neiman art ranges from the ultra-expensive and highly sought after original fine art paintings to more reasonably but still high valued prints. Even the prints can put a dent in a collector’s wallet, though. Recently, Neiman’s prints have seen a spike in value and interest on the market.
Get an online appraisal of your Leroy Neiman piece from Dr. Lori.