Note on Art

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Note on Art


A note from LeRoy Neiman on art references garnered during his time at SAIC.


This note from LeRoy Neiman provides an anecdotal account of influences rooted the artist’s time at SAIC. Generally, the references catalogued are from a selection of French artistic movements and schools. In addition, Neiman supplies a discussion of SAIC faculty who expressed interest in his work.


LeRoy Neiman


LeRoy Neiman Foundation


LeRoy Neiman Foundation


c. 1990-2011


LeRoy Neiman


Property of the LeRoy Neiman Foundation; please consult the organization's archivist for further details.










LN_Notes_1089_01; LN_Notes_1089_02; LN_Notes_1089_03; LN_Notes_1089_04; LN_Notes_1089_05


New York (N.Y.) New York

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["Without intent I draw from the outside world the semblance of things, but in this way, I, myself become part of the world's imaginings. Thus in everything imagination is simply that which is natural. It is natural vision, life..." / H. INFLUENCES & IMITATIONS / When I got out of the army in St. Paul, I did a quick oil on a cotton canvas fragment of a Tilman Riemenschneider's head of Christ from a pamphlet on his work I bought in Wurzburg in 1945 in army occupation. / During the 50's and 60's ] some of [my favoriet artworks were Toulouse Lautrec's lithos, Gustave Courbet's (1819-1877) "L'Apres-Diner a Oran" (1949), Paul Cezanne's "Card Players" (1892), Daumier's "At the Cafe" / Lautrec and Dufy were my favorites as well, together with Kees van Dongen, a then hard to find in Chicago, sort of "out of favor" artist. / I became very attached to certain paintings in the Chester Dale collection / - Henri-Marie-Raymond, Vicomte de Toulouse Lautrect Monfa, French 1892. "At the Moulin Rouge" (47 1/2 X 55 1/4), "At the Moulin de la Galette" the SAIC owned half a dozen of his paintings, a sketchbook and hundreds of prints. A Lautrec exhibition was held in 1949. He put himself in the painting. He drew great head shapes, women's hairdo, men's hat indoors, young adolescent girls. Right foreground chlorotic, pale yellow, green color Design dark shape groups] /

[- Raoul Dufy, French 1877-1953: "Nude Reclining", an exotic painting with color combinations and violets and a mountain landscape "Saint Janet" / Also "Mindful of Hindu Girl" (1928) / - Henri Matisse, French 1869-1954: "Woman Before An Aquarium" The gaze of a woman stopping at fish. I always have felt Matisse arrived at what he wanted with]out [having to change the things very much. His intelligence guided him, and what he put down was what he intended] very positive. When he made a change he left evidence / [- Pablo Picasso, Spanish 1881-1973: "Family of Saltimbanques" (7 X 7 1/2), "Lovers" and from his "blue period", little girl etching a bowl while standing at a table (1901) / - John Singer Sargent, American 1856-1925: "Nude Study of an Egyptian Girl" / - Giorgio de Chirico, Italian 1888-19: "Conversation Among the Ruins" (loan) / - Francois Boucher, French: "Nude" / - Georges Rouault, French 1871-19 "Jesus Always Scourged" (1922) (Also "Christ's Head", in Paris) / - A half dozen Braques' and Innis / - The women paintings of Modigliani / - Edgar Degas, French 1834-1917 Pastels, namely "Dancers in the Wings" / At SAIC all students experienced, first hand, the many benefits of the Museum, of the Ryerson Library Print Collection as well as the Goodman Theater of Drama - which was associated with the school. / My art teachers at SAIC were Boris Anisfeld (painting),] Document [Briggs Dyer (drawing and painting), Alan Philbrick (pen and ink), John Rogers Cox (scratch board rendering), Ed Ruppercht (subject matter, general drawing), Paul Wieghart (painting),] 6 [Members of SAIC's staff were Carl O. Schniewind (curator of prints and drawings) who loved French prints, Hugh Edwards (assistant] Harold Yoachim? /

[curator of prints and drawings), Ethelred Abbot (librarian), Ryerson and Burnheim. Katherine Kuh (curator of modern painting and sculpture) became an editor and liked my work. Daniel Catton Rich (director of Art Institute from 1938 to 1958) loved Magnasco (4) Fredrick A. Sweet (curator of American paintings) when he selected a painting from two he was considering to hang in the American exhibition of the Art Institute, said after studying the two paintings "you're on the right track, but your paintings need be a bit more cursory". This was meaningful comment and I've tried, but still show more than I should. / Art school students were John Bajerus, Bob and Herb Katzman, Franz Schultz, Seymour Rosephsky, Irv Petlin, Bob Natkin (with whom I am still in contact), Nathan Goldstein,] very promising sculptor [Claus Oldenburg, Leon Golub, Estes (who started the hyperreaslist school) Jordan Krimstein, John Jurgens] had something surrealistically special [and Charles Usher] a talent who I felt needed to be watched [a black student (5), were very talented. There are no big names today because of other objectives Robert Natkin was a kid out of high school in our class that comprised 75 to 85 war veterans - even WACS Student Whitney Halstead was an assistant to Kathleen Blackshear, the History of Art instructor and lecturer I once seriously kicked him in the ass when he snippely scolded me about my paper being turned in late. / The art Institute major shows were with De Kooning and Pollock (abstract expressionism), Enamul, Baziotes, Marco Relli, Van Gogh, and a tapestry show] Kline Guston / Katherine Kuh said when sitting with a group of students "Picasso if he were born and living the U.S. would do any kind of art he pleased to experience himself. In Europe he had to be just a painter and a sculptor. /

Between 1947 and 1959, when at SAIC, I became especially interested in [...] / - Jean-Francois Millet, French 1814-1875 "Bringing Home The New-Born Calf" (oil) Peasant scene of a mother following calf bearers / - Jules Breton, French 1812-1875 "The Song of the Lark" Female dignity. / - El Greco 1541-1614: "Assumption of the Virgin" The rolled back upward wet eyes! / - Giovanni Paolo Pannini, Italian 1691-1765: "Festival of Piazza Navonna" I later (in 1991) worked in Piazza Navonna. / - Nicolaus Poussin, French 1594-1665 "Saint John on Palmas" Landscape. / - Paul Cezanne, French 1839-1906 "Mountain being Mont Sainte-Victore" (1887 London) Great landscape paintings in Le Louvre Anvers: Cubistic Village Panorama (oil). Shanting roof tops and flat sides of buildings. Study Lorain "Cezanne's compositions" / - Kees Van Dongen, Dutch 1877-1919 "Rue de la Paix". Elegant womens and dogs, style. / - Willaims Glackens, Americans 1870-1938: "Chez Mougin" Restaurant, cafe scene with a couple, a coat over a chair, still life of glassware on table. Ash can. / - John Sloan, American 1871-1951: "Mc Sorley's Bar" "Renganeschi's Saturday Night" Restaurant. On the left side, a couple is busy attacking plates, a man is eating soup; waiter, etc. [...] / - John Marin, American. "Fifth Avenue", watercolor wizard, turbulence, clock 11 A.M. / - Edouard Manet, French 1832-1883: "Le Journal Illustre" Woman reading newspaper on baton in public attire. Brushwork, ala prima, fluid paint.] /

[- Pierre Bonnard, French 1867-1947 "Preparation for Lunch" (gouache). Folding napkins, setting table, still life, table cloth. / - Chardin, French 1699-1779: "The White Tablecloth". Bread, wine, knife. / - Daumier Honore, French caricaturist. He probed human feeling and broadly transcribed contemporary life. His period treated him unkindly; he is now belauded. This perversion of a talent justly celebrated for work of another kind has found much favor / - Hendrik Gollzives, Dutch 1558-1619: "Hercules" (engraving), rendering from back. Great technique and anatomy (Met. Mus., Rembrandt Colelction) / - Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Italian 1696-1770: "Rinaldo and Armida in the Garden". Prominent with companion piece at top of stairs; later other prominent pieces at the Met. Soft colors, space. / The Italians - Tintoretto, Veronese and Tiepolo - hit me hard and stayed with me, although they were not strongly represented in the Chicago Art Institute collections. I looked at Fragonard and Tiepolo in Ryerson Library.

Original Format

Word processed document with pencil on paper.




LeRoy Neiman, “Note on Art,” LeRoy Neiman Foundation, accessed June 25, 2024,