• 20s

    Born June 8 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

  • 30s
    Indian Chief, 1931. Mixed media on paper.
  • 40s

    Studies at the St. Paul Gallery and School of Art with painter Clement Haupers.

  • 1942–46

    Leaves high school to enlist in the U.S. Army, serves four years in Europe.


  • 1947
    Landscape with Trees, 1947. Oil on board.
  • 1946–50

    Attends the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and studies liberal arts at the University of Illinois and De Paul University.

  • 50s

    Begins teaching career with figure drawing and fashion drawing classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

  • 1952

    Wins first major prize: the Chicago Art Directors Award.

  • 1953

    Begins using enamel house paints. 

    Interest in sports enmeshed as LeRoy starts drawing horse races at Arlington Park.

    LeRoy wins First Prize for Painting, Idle Boats, a purchase prize, at Twin City Show, Minneapolis Institute of Art.

  • 1954

    Launches magazine career by illustrating for Playboy; his art for a Charles Beaumont story wins the Chicago Art Directors Award.

  • 1955
    Lower Manhattan Panorama, 1955. Ink on paper.
  • 1955

    Creates the “Femlin” character that appears in Playboy for the next 47 years; wins New York Art Directors Award.

  • 1956

    Dives into the Chicago sports scene, drawing the Chicago Bears, Blackhawks, and local boxing matches

  • 1957

    Teaches painting at the Art Institute of Chicago and landscape painting at Ox-Bow Summer School in Saugatuck, Michigan; marries art student Janet Byrne.

    Exhibits in Corcoran Gallery of Art American 25th Biennial Exhibition, Washington, D.C. and is awarded the juried Clark Memorial Prize.  


  • 1958

    Begins extensive travels for Playboy, creating a regular feature on the high life called “Man at His Leisure,” which runs for the next 15 years.

  • 1959
    Idle Boats, 1959. Enamel on board.
  • 1959

    Holds one-man show of racing scenes at Arlington Park Race Track, Chicago; shows in Jazz Exhibition and Social Observation and Comment in Art Show in Chicago.

  • 60s

    Completes 100+ paintings and two murals for 18 Playboy Clubs.

  • 1961

    Sets up studio in Paris to paint the Deauville social season, great restaurants of France, Dublin Horse Show, cricket at Lord’s in London; wins gold medal for oil painting at the Salon d’Art Moderne, Paris.

  • 1962

    Continues painting and sketching in Europe (Bordeaux wine country, Paris fashion shows, racing at Longchamp, Regatta of the Gondoliers in Venice); returns to America to do 12 commissioned paintings of the Indianapolis 500.

  • 1963

    Sets up studio in New York City, holds first one-man exhibition in New York at Hammer Galleries, travels to Mexico with cartoonist Shel Silverstein and sketches in Mexico City and Acapulco.

  • 1964

    Launches 15-year series of Muhammad Ali sketches and paintings; sketches London nightlife and Prince Philip playing polo at Windsor; paints the Tour de France in Paris.

  • 1964
    Cassius Clay and Malcolm X, 1964. Ink on paper.
  • 1965

    Commemorates Sugar Ray Robinson with 8×6-foot “Farewell to Boxing”; paints portraits of Mae West and poet Marianne Moore; sketches indoor polo for opening of Houston Astrodome.

  • 1966

    Sketches the Kentucky Derby; paints the Beatles, Kenneth Tynan, Sir Ralph Richardson in London; creates art for film Casino Royale.

  • 1967

    Builds reputation as the artist’s artist by painting/sketching Leonard Bernstein, Frank Sinatra, Brigitte Bardot, ballerina Suzanne Farrell; paints 24 Hours of LeMans, the Fiesta at Pamplona.

  • 1968

    Paints the Kirov and Bolshoi ballets in Russia, the Democratic National Convention in Chicago; is named the New York Jets’ artist-in-residence; initiates art class for the Atlanta Poverty Program.

  • 1969

    Sketches civil rights leaders and teaches art in Atlanta Poverty Program; creates poster for Kurt Weill off-Broadway show and program cover of Oh Calcutta! on Broadway.

  • 70s
    Muhammad Ali in his corner before the Jerry Quarry fight, 1970. Mixed media on paper.
  • 1970

    Paints backdrop for Broadway play Borstal Boy, does album cover for The 5th Dimension; exhibits in TimeCovers show at the National Portrait Gallery.

  • 1971

    Creates official poster and draws pre-fight sketches of Ali-Frazier Super Fight I at Madison Square Garden for The New York Times Magazine cover and post-fight sketches for ABC-TV; illustrates Sting Like a Bee, José Torres’ book on Ali.

  • 1972

    Covers Munich Olympic Games and Bobby Fischer-Boris Spassky World Chess Championship in Reykjavik, Iceland; creates serigraph of Knicks-Lakers NBA championship game; paints Super Bowl for cover of Time.

  • 1973

    Ends “Man at His Leisure” column for Playboy; creates serigraph of Triple Crown winner Secretariat; travels for multi-city exhibition of Olympic serigraphs.

  • 1974

    Exhibits at the Tobu Gallery in Tokyo and sketches sumo, baseball and horse racing for Japanese TV; creates posters for Ali-Foreman fight, Frank Sinatra concert at Carnegie Hall, and Newport Jazz Festival; LeRoy Neiman: Art and Life Style is published.

  • 1975

    Receives major retrospective at the Minnesota Museum of Art; creates official program cover for the World Series; creates poster for Ali-Frazier III in Manila and first of four annual posters for Robert F. Kennedy Pro-Celebrity Tennis Tournament.

  • 1976

    Named ABC-TV Official Artist at the Summer Games of the XXI Olympiad, Montreal, where he paints a mural on camera; paints Chris Evert for Saturday Evening Post cover.

  • 1977

    Holds one-man shows in Stockholm and Helsinki; works in Paris; paints NBA All-Star game and creates poster for Lacrosse USA.

  • 1978

    Performs first live execution of computer art for CBS during coverage of Super Bowl XII in New Orleans; creates poster for Bill Bradley senatorial campaign and for Ali-Spinks II match.

  • 1979
    New York City Marathon, 1979. Enamel and acrylic on board.
  • 1979

    Appointed Grand Marshal (with Jesse Owens) at The Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa; covers the Pan-Am Games in Puerto Rico for CBS; Horses is published.

  • 80s

    Named Official Artist of the Winter Games of the XXI Olympiad, Lake Placid, NY, and Official Artist of the Democratic National Convention, New York; begins a series of paintings for Caesar’s Palace; gives President Carter a painting to commemorate the signing of Arab-Israeli peace treaty at Camp David; Posters is published

  • 1981
    Cap Ferrat, 1981. Mixed media on paper.
  • 1981

    “LeRoy Neiman, Andy Warhol: An Exhibition of Sports Paintings” opens at the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art; executes 24×16-foot portrait of Sylvester Stallone for RockyCarnaval is published.

  • 1982

    Has one-man exhibition at Harrod’s in London; creates poster for Kool Jazz Festival; exhibits in Tokyo.

  • 1983

    Creates billboard/TV commercial/ program art for the Tropicana, Las Vegas; Winners is published.

  • 1984

    Appointed Official Artist of the Winter Games of the XXII Olympiad, Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, and the Summer Olympics, Los Angeles.

  • 1985

    Returns to Brazil to paint Gavea Golf and Country Club in Rio de Janeiro and stock exchange in Sao Paulo; named Honorary Marshal at St. Paul Winter Carnival; Japanese version of Winners is published.

  • 1986

    Named Official Artist of the Goodwill Games in Moscow; paints America’s Cup commission for the New York Yacht Club.

  • 1987

    Paints and makes video documentaries of Old St. Andrews in Scotland and the Riviera in France; paints Indianapolis 500; presents Minute Man poster to President Ronald Reagan at the White House.

  • 1988

    LeRoy and Janet Neiman donate $1 million to fund the UCLA LeRoy Neiman Center; paints and makes video documentary Napoleon at Waterloo; LeRoy conducts a Master Class at the University of San Francisco; Monte Carlo Chase is published.

  • 1989

    Paints Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli, Sammy Davis, Jr. in concert at Royal Albert Hall, London; does sketches, paintings, and video documentary of New York’s Central Park and holds exhibition at the Loeb Boathouse.

  • 90s
    Piazza San Marco, 1990. Mixed media on paper.
  • 1990

    Executes commemorative painting for 100th anniversary of Los Angeles Dodgers; holds one-man exhibition in connection with the inaugural Grand Prix auto race in Denver; paints the Masters in Augusta; travels and sketches in Rome, Paris, and Hong Kong.

  • 1991

    Produces commissioned paintings for the 25th anniversary of Spectrum Stadium in Philadelphia, 10th anniversary of the Miami Grand Prix, Michael Jordan serigraph, Baseball Hall of Fame inductions of Joe Morgan and Jim Palmer; travels to Japan to paint geishas, the Ginza, and golf scenes.

  • 1992

    Paints Tom Seaver for Baseball Hall of Fame induction, suite of four famous golf courses—Sawgrass, Augusta, Pebble Beach, and Rivera—for publication of Big-Time Golf; sketches and paints in Venice, Milan, and Rome.

  • 1993

    Paints Reggie Jackson for Baseball Hall of Fame induction, Larry Bird for Boston Garden, Iroquois Steeplechase in Nashville, Frank Sinatra for Duets album cover, creates poster for CBS film Call of the Wild.

  • 1994

    Paints Pebble Beach Golf Clubhouse, Super Bowl XXVIII in Atlanta, Frank Sinatra for Duets II album cover; creates poster for CBS film The Yearling; paints in Monte Carlo, Venice, Kenya; An American in Paris is published.

  • 1995

    Paints Babe Ruth for the Baseball Hall of Fame, U.S. Open at Shinnecock, Rockefeller Center; creates 40-foot mural for Tommy Tune musical Busker Alley; joins New York City Advisory Commission for Cultural Affairs.

  • 1996

    LeRoy and Janet Neiman donate $6 million to create the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies at Columbia University; creates six postage stamps for the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta; paints Super Bowl XXX in Phoenix; creates serigraph The Three Tenors of Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, and Luciano Pavarotti.

  • 1997

    LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies opens at Columbia University; creates first official Kentucky Derby poster and poster commemorating 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s breaking of racial barrier in Major League Baseball; presents commissioned portrait to South Africa President Nelson Mandela; LeRoy Neiman on Safari is published.

  • 1998

    Inaugurates LeRoy Neiman Center for Study of American Culture and Society at UCLA; creates label for Duval-Leroy champagne, official poster for Breeders’ Cup, program cover for Goodwill Games New York.

  • 1999

    Creates art for Givenchy perfumes, poster for off-Broadway play Taxicab Chronicles, serigraphs of sports icons Mickey Mantle, Mark McGuire, John Elway.

  • 2000s

    First LeRoy Neiman Art Center for Youth opens in San Francisco; creates artwork for 125th Preakness Stakes and PGA Championship at Valhalla; serigraphs of MLB stars Mike Piazza and Cal Ripken, Jr.; The Prints of LeRoy Neiman 1991-2000 is published.

  • 2001

    Second LeRoy Neiman Art Center for Youth opens in Watsonville, CA; paints posters for the All-Star Jockey Championships and 2002 Mardi Gras; completes largest serigraph, Circus.

  • 2002
    Maasai Warriors, 2002. Enamel and acrylic on canvas.
  • 2002

    Travels to Havana with members of Congress and press to meet with President Fidel Castro, who sits for several drawings; inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame; Gallagher’s steakhouse unveils a permanent collection of Neiman artwork portraying New York City’s greatest athletes.

  • 2003

    Paints Breeders Cup and unveils portrait of racehorse Funny Cide at Saratoga; LeRoy Neiman: Five Decades is published.

  • 2004

    Receives Ellis Island Medal of Honor; produces set of five limited edition prints of Martha Graham; paints Secretariat for the Secretariat Museum. LeRoy Neiman Sketchbook: Liston vs. Clay 1964/Ali vs. Liston 1965 is published.

  • 2005

    LeRoy and Janet Neiman donate $3 million to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) scholarship fund; donates The LeRoy Neiman Papers to the Archives of American Art of the Smithsonian; creates poster and program as Official Artist of the Indianapolis 500.

  • 2006

    LeRoy Neiman Art Center for Youth opens at Pier 9 in San Francisco; receives Honorary Doctorate from SAIC and holds two weeks of master classes for high school students; makes cameo appearance in Rocky Balboa and appears in TOOTS, the Rise and Fall of the World’s Greatest Saloonkeeper.

  • 2007

    LeRoy and Janet Neiman donate $1 million to Arts Horizons to create the LeRoy Neiman Art Center; the Smithsonian uses Neiman drawing of Louis Armstrong in Jazz Appreciation Month poster; Femlin, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of his Playboy character, is published.

  • 2008

    Receives Town and Gown of USC Lifetime Achievement Award; named Official Artist of the 2010 World Equestrian Games and creates the event’s official image.

  • 2009

    Named Columbia University’s first Honorary Professor of the Arts; creates painting for the XXI Winter Olympics in Vancouver; provides oral history of his four years in the U.S. Army for the new World War II Museum in New Orleans; The Big Band, a documentary about Neiman’s 9×16-foot painting of 16 jazz greats, premieres.

  • 2010s

    Donates additional $1 million to support scholarships at the Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists’ Residency in Saugatuck, MI; named Official Artist for the 2012 Ryder Cup; creates painting and serigraph for the tournament.

  • 2011

    Creates the LeRoy Neiman Student Lounge at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; attends exhibitions celebrating his 90th birthday at Franklin Bowles Galleries and the Arts Horizons LeRoy Neiman Center for Art.

  • 2012

    All Told: My Art and Life Among Athletes, Playboys, Bunnies, and Provocateurs is published; Neiman passes away on June 20, 2012.