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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 9/21/2020

LeRoy Neiman came to fame in the 1960s as a dynamic artist, well-known for his brilliantly colored, expressionist paintings and screen prints of athletes, musicians, and sporting events. His work, in both watercolors and acrylics, captured the spirit of countless famous figures from the world of sports. Neiman’s paintings were exhibited in galleries, used in print magazines, and celebrated in films and television broadcasts. Neiman became so famous for his art that he began to make appearances in films himself as himself, including four of the “Rocky” movies. First making a name for himself in the pages of Playboy magazine illustrating articles and contributing cartoons, beginning in 1960 Neiman traveled the world observing and painting leisure life, social activities and athletic competitions including the Olympics, the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Kentucky Derby, championship boxing, PGA and The Masters golf tournament, The Ryder Cup, the World Equestrian Games, Wimbledon and other Grand Slam competitions, as well as night life, entertainment, jazz and the world of casino gambling.

Of course, in those travels Neiman frequently crossed paths with one of the 20th century’s most famous athletes, three-time heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali. Neiman and Ali had a long friendship beginning in the early 1960s when Ali beat Sonny Liston for the title. The duo shared an affinity for boxing, the limelight, and breaking with convention. Neiman even taught and encouraged Ali to draw. Neiman’s vivid watercolors and intimate, on-the-spot sketches captured Ali both in and outside the ring. Presented is an original Neiman watercolor painting of Ali. The black watercolor on 11½ x 16-inch white paper painting captures a young Ali – perhaps still Cassius Clay – standing shirtless in his boxing trunks with gloved hands against a blank background. Neiman has signed his name vertically in bold black paint to the right of Ali’s figure in the painting. His unique portrait of the champion and activist delineates Ali’s individualism and iconic status with a minimum of lines yet clearly identifies not only the champion’s dynamic character but also defines Neiman’s personal style. Ali is staring into the distance, perhaps his future and the future of his sport, his career and the world around him, which Neiman portrays through only a few brushstrokes. Both the artist and the athlete left a legacy of greatness that will be long remembered by future generations. This item comes with a LOA from Beckett Authentication for Neiman’s signature.

Original Leroy Neiman "Muhammad Ali" Watercolor Painting (Beckett)
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1,500.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $6,600.00
Number Bids: 9
Auction closed on Tuesday, September 22, 2020.
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