Titled Muhammad Ali - Athlete of the Century
, issued in 2001, numbered "223/850," and flawlessly signed in pencil along the lower margin by both Muhammad Ali and LeRoy Neiman (each grading "10"). Edition limited to 1,010 impressions (850 numbered impressions, 150 artist's proofs, and 10 printer's proofs). This particular serigraph is notable for the remarques (small drawings) along the base of the print. According to Knoedler Publishing, the company that issued these serigraphs, the remarques themselves were limited in number:
Muhammad Ali created the one on the left. LeRoy Neiman created the one on the right, and they were applied to the sheets during the serigraphy process. Remarques were only added to the first 500 of the 850 numbered units in the edition. The remarques make these serigraphs absolutely unique among the hundreds of print editions created by LeRoy Neiman
Although Ali was a frequent subject for Neiman, this piece is widely considered his finest representation of the former heavyweight champion. The work is based upon sketches Neiman made of Ali in 1964 and the artist later commented on the piece: "All of my experiences and observations of Ali are summed up in this portrait. This painting is for me the quintessential, colorful, confident Ali. It shows his fighting face, with that theatrical flair, that is so familiar to the world and epitomizes a career that extended to a public far beyond the boxing ring. He was fast with his rhetoric and swift with his fists, and the intent of the painting and print is to emphasize his boundless energy." This is a modern classic and one of the most desirable serigraphs ever issued by Neiman. The serigraph (28 x 42 inches; image area) is in apparent Near Mint to Mint condition and has been matted and framed to total dimensions of 42.5 x 60 inches. Auction LOA from James Spence/JSA. The substantial size/weight of this item requires that there will be a shipping charge for this lot (which will vary depending upon where it is being shipped). The shipping charge will be billed separately from the auction invoice. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,500+.
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