LeRoy Neiman

LeRoy Neiman (1921-2012) created seven editions in the Neiman Center's print studio. Drawings of New York from 1954 and 1955 were used to create editions of prints in photogravure and chine colle. In his first series of prints published by the Neiman Center, Neiman used spit bite etching, a technique that requires a quick, unfaltering gestural movement to etch directly into the plate. Neiman managed to catch the figures in his baseball series in the height of activity, mid-pitch or mid-swing. Neiman made prints throughout his career, and his dedication to the art of printmaking was evidenced in his founding of the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies at Columbia University in 1996. The LeRoy Neiman Foundation continues to maintain an active role in supporting the Center.

Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, LeRoy Neiman's artistic career was determined at an early age: as a grade-school student in the 1930s, he earned a few extra pennies by tattooing Mickey Mouse and Popeye on classmates' forearms. Later, in 1954, his friend Hugh Hefner enlisted him for the launch of Playboy magazine, and Neiman became its official artist. Throughout his career, Neiman drew and painted many prominent celebrities, focusing primarily on sports events and athletic stars such as Muhammad Ali. As the writer and critic Jan Avgikos noted, Neiman "is a glamorous artist who turned painting into a spectator sport and performed it with such virtuosity and panache that both he and his art became a sensation."

LeRoy Neiman's memoir All Told provides more insight into the artist's bold and dynamic life.