Hillstrom Museum of Art Now Showing LeRoy Neiman Exhibition

Posted on December 1st, 2016 by

The Hillstrom Museum of Art presents Action! The Anatomy of LeRoy Neiman’s Champions, on view from November 21, 2016 through January 27, 2017. The Museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Monday – Friday and on the weekend from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free.

The exhibition was organized by The LeRoy Neiman Foundation, New York, with the Louisiana State University Museum of Art in Baton Rouge.  It includes over 70 works by LeRoy Neiman (1921-2012), all lent by the Neiman Foundation.

LeRoy Neiman (1921-2012), Soccer Players, 1986, acrylic and watercolor on paper, 22 1/8 X 28 3/4 inches

LeRoy Neiman (1921-2012), Soccer Players, 1986, acrylic and watercolor on paper, 22 1/8 X 28 3/4 inches

Neiman is famed for his colorful, semi-abstract paintings of sports figures, but he also was a master draftsman with an impressive on-the-spot ability to capture the human form in motion.  In his 2012 autobiography All Told, the artist noted that “there are few areas in life where movement, beauty, grace, and the pure joy of energy are as visually expressed as in sports.”  Neiman’s works remarkably also suggest the moments before and after what is depicted, a phenomenon described as “a four-dimensional drawing where moments past are invisibly infused into the depiction of the present” in a text by Tomas Vu-Daniel (LeRoy Neiman Professor of Professional Practice in Visual Art, Columbia University) in the catalogue that accompanies the exhibition.  In some works on view, the passage of time is explicitly depicted by multiple images, as in a tennis player who is shown uncoiling his serve or a football offensive tackle bursting into play after the hike.

Among Neiman’s artistic influences were artists of New York’s Ashcan School, and he cited George Bellows (1882-1925) and his artworks based on observation of sporting events to create artworks as an important precursor to his own practice.  A charcoal and pastel drawing in the Action! exhibit showing Mike Tyson having just knocked down Michael Spinks is closely comparable with Bellow’s celebrated boxing images, especially his 1924 painting of Jack Dempsey knocking out Luis Firpo.  Neiman was originally from Minnesota, where one of his first art teachers was Clement Haupers (1900-1982), an artist well known in the state (and a friend of Hillstrom Museum of Art namesake Richard L. Hillstrom).  A group of works by and related to Haupers is being presented as a complement to Action! and includes his 1946 portrait of Neiman, lent by the Neiman Foundation, and landscapes and figure images lent by Mark Forgy and David and Kathryn Gilbertson.

LeRoy Neiman (1921-2012), Ready to Uncoil, c. 1990, felt pen on paper, 13 1/8 X 9 1/4 inches

LeRoy Neiman (1921-2012), Ready to Uncoil, c. 1990, felt pen on paper, 13 1/8 X 9 1/4 inches

Steven Bond, President of the Neiman Foundation Board, will make comments at the opening reception of the exhibit.  A gallery talk in the Museum featuring Gustavus Adolphus College coaches discussing particular artworks related to their individual sports is planned for Monday, January 9, 2017, 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Regular hours for the Hillstrom Museum of Art are weekdays, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.  As with all programs of the Hillstrom Museum of Art, the Action! exhibition, its opening reception, and the related January gallery talk are all free and open to the public.  For additional information about the Museum, visit the Hillstrom Museum of Art.

 

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