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Joe Namath 1968 Original Leroy Neiman Painting Unquestionably one of the finest pieces of sports artwork to reach the auction block in quite some time. And, of course, it goes without saying that any work that could back up such a boast would have to come from the hand of Leroy Neiman, the most celebrated sports artist of all time, and certainly one of the most famous living artists in the world. His vibrant, colorful style captures the kinetic energy of athletics better than any other artist could, and while dozens have mimicked Neiman's distinctive brushwork, none could approach his level of mastery. While any painting from this living master is endowed with great value, there are several factors that lift this particular work even higher, among the most desirable of Neiman's sizable oeuvre. Primarily, we must consider the subject, a Hall of Fame hero from the city of New York whose brash, inventive style of play earned him notoriety and admiration far beyond the five boroughs. Next, the handwritten date of "'68" beside Neiman's autograph at lower right sets the piece right at the height of Namath's appeal, the season that ended with a Super Bowl III promise of victory -- which the leader of the underdog Jets delivered. Furthermore, we can see an important stage in the evolution of Neiman's style. The methodology is quite the same as his later works, but scholars of Neiman's art will instantly recognize this as decades old. Finally, the image itself, with Broadway Joe's blue eyes peering out from a chaotic swarm of green, is pure visual poetry. No catalog photograph could possibly do justice -- this piece needs to be seen and studied to be fully appreciated. The oil on artist's board painting measures 19.5" x 28" and has been signed and dated in the lower right corner "LeRoy Neiman '68" with the title "Namath". Mounted and framed to dimensions of 26" x 33".

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Auction Dates
September, 2004
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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