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Publicist: Artist LeRoy Neiman dies in NY at 91

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LeRoy Nieman
Artist LeRoy Nieman signs autographs at the 100 Days to Vancouver Celebration on November 4, 2009 at the Rockefeller Center in New York City. Nieman, a native of St. Paul, Minn., died June 20, 2012 at age 91 in New York.
Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for USOC

By TOM McELROY
Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — LeRoy Neiman, the painter and sketch artist best known for evoking the kinetic energy of the world's biggest sporting and leisure events with bright quick strokes, died Wednesday at age 91.  

Neiman also was a contributing artist at Playboy magazine for many years and official painter of five Olympiads. His longtime publicist Gail Parenteau confirmed his death Wednesday but didn't disclose the cause.  

Neiman was a media-savvy artist who knew how to enthrall audiences with his instant renditions of what he observed. In 1972, he sketched the world chess tournament between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer in Reykjavik, Iceland, for a live television audience.   

He also produced live drawings of the Olympics for TV and was the official computer artist of the Super Bowl for CBS.  

Neiman's "reportage of history and the passing scene ... revived an almost lost and time-honored art form," according to a 1972 exhibit catalog of the artist's Olympics sketches at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  

"It's been fun. I've had a lucky life," Neiman said in a June 2008 interview with The Associated Press. "I've zeroed in on what you would call action and excellence. ... Everybody who does anything to try to succeed has to give the best of themselves, and art has made me pull the best out of myself."  

Neiman's paintings, many executed in household enamel paints that allowed the artist his fast-moving strokes, are an explosion in reds, blues, pinks, greens and yellows of pure kinetic energy.

He has been described as an American impressionist, but the St. Paul, Minn., native preferred to think of himself simply as an American artist.