Artist: Leroy Neiman
Title: George Halas - Chicago Bears
Medium: Sketch on Paper
Paper size: 10 1/4" x 12 1/4"
Frame size: 19" x 20 1/2"
Inscription: Titled, dated, and signed
Condition: Very good condition with no damage
Documentation: Includes a gallery certificate of authenticity
No artist has ever captured the essence and movement of athletes and the euphoria of sporting events quite like LeRoy Neiman. Known for his brash style, he painted every high-profile personality in every major venue, from backsides at race tracks to ringside at fights.
Football was one of Neiman’s first subjects. With a sketchpad under his arm, he would go to the games to capture the athletes in action. One of his early experiences was a Bears’ game at Chicago’s Wrigley Field. In an attempt to get closer to the players, he snuck into the field, zigzagging his way to the sidelines. As he started sketching J.C. Caroline, the Bears’ running back, a guard came over to him. Just when he was about to be thrown out, George “Papa Bear” Halas, the team’s owner and coach appeared. He glanced at his sketches and said: “He stays!”.
Perhaps this early encounter inspired Neiman to create the sketch of the legendary coach we have on offer. George “Papa Bear” Halas, a co-founder of the NFL and founder of the Chicago Bears, was a man of iron will who had one of the most memorable coaching runs in sports history. The artist captured him in three poses, as he explains the strategy to a player. With expressionist strokes of the pencil, the artist perfectly captured the energy Halas was known for. The sketch is accompanied by notations “Turn on the lights, Halas” and “Halas”.
About LeRoy Neiman
Leroy Neiman is considered the most famous American leisure artist of all time. His unique and easily identifiable technique coupled with his easy to relate to subject matter has made him a success with both art critics and art collectors. Born and raised in Minnesota, Leroy Neiman developed an affinity for art at an early age. He put his art career on hold to serve in World War II but immediately picked up where he left off upon his return when he enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago. After graduation, he spent 10 years teaching for the same program. While in Chicago, he met and befriended Hugh Heffner and began his career as a regular illustrator for Heffner’s Playboy magazine in 1956. His art would appear in the Party Jokes section and his famous Femlin character gained him public attention for his art for the first time. He would also use Playboy as a vehicle to showcase his travels and adventures as his career continues to progress. His career with playboy would last for over 50 years. Neiman’s career really began taking off in 1960. He traveled the world to paint scenery and capture sporting events. Leroy Neiman is considered by many to be the most famous sports artist of all time. During his career, he would famously capture Formula One races, the Ryder Cup and Masters Golf Tournaments, Boxing events, the Kentucky Derby, Wimbledon, the World Cup, the Olympics, and many others. These images became associated with the events they were painted for and further elevated the artist’s fame. During the same time, Neiman also captured street scenes and global landmarks while traveling. His Arc de Triomphe and Brooklyn Bridge are some of his most iconic.
The subject of Neiman paintings expanded to include scenery, figure paintings, animals and celebrities. He also painted a number of leisure scenes which remain some of his most famous today. He had a special love of painting jazz musicians, night life, and casino scenes. Leroy Neiman is also famous for his flamboyant personality. His ability paint himself as a unique and eccentric personality has been polarizing, but has also worked well to market the artist. His personality has without question propelled his celebrity status to a higher level and in doing brought his art along with it. During his career, he was friends with many celebrities. He passed away at the age of 91 on June 20, 2012 in New York City. His art remains extremely popular.
The artwork of Leroy Neiman is iconic for many reasons. The artist’s one of a kind technique and semi-abstracted style has branded his work as unique to the artist. His use of brushstrokes and vibrant color is able to capture movement and emphasize the qualities of the sports and leisure activities he captured in his art. His subject matter is also easy to relate to and has propelled its popularity among art collectors. All of this combined with Neiman’s outgoing and flamboyant personality created a very successful and popular modern artist who’s art will live on well beyond the artist’s years.