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Robert Oscar Lenkiewicz (1941-2002)

Biography of the painter Robert Oscar Lenkiewicz (1941-2002)

Born in London in 1941, Robert Lenkiewicz was the son of Jewish refugees and spent his childhood in his parent's hotel in Cricklewood. The hotel was largely inhabited by refugees and survivors of the concentration camps.

From an early age, Lenkiewicz painted with great confidence on a large scale and was inspired by seeing Charles Laughtons' portrayal of Rembrandt in Korda's film and the equestrian paintings of George Stubbs. Early subjects were portraits of the hotel residents and horses.

At 16, he was accepted into St Martin's College of Art and Design and later attended The Royal Academy but his energy and passion was always generated by the freedom of working independently.

Having established a studio by 1964, which he threw open to all comers and anyone who needed a roof, the result was a steady and growing stream of colourful characters from the fringes of society: homeless, addicts, mentally ill and criminals all gathered and Lenkiewicz was soon forced to leave.

Lenkiewicz moved to a remote cottage near Lanreath in Cornwall, earned money by teaching and was offered studio space in Plymouth. The new home and studio of Lenkiewicz soon became a popular magnet for the vagrants and street alcoholics of the City and these characters became the subjects of many paintings of the period.

Throughout his life Lenkiewicz worked on a number of themed Projects based around 'sociological enquires examining human physiology in a state of crisis' and these Projects now include some of the most extraordinary paintings, interpretations and ideas.

Forthright, honest and challenging examinations of contemporary perceptions and attitudes towards subjects like Death, Handicap, Sexual Behaviour, Suicide and Addiction have produced many quite exceptional images.

Our work alongside the Executor of the estate of Robert Lenkiewicz has helped to make us the leading Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers for this charismatic painter.

Instructed to conduct two huge studio sales, we have handled thousands of paintings, drawings and unusual artefacts from the Lenkiewicz studios and we will continue to be in the forefront of the market for Lenkiewicz.

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Robert Oscar Lenkiewicz (1941-2002) Related Lots

Lot FS29/342

Lot FS29/342: Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - Self-Portrait with Red Scarf

Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - Self-Portrait with Red Scarf - signed twice and inscribed on the reverse oil on canvas 48 x 48cm.

Estimate: £12,000 - £18,000
Realised: £12,500

Lot FS28/325

Lot FS28/325: Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - Self-Portrait

Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - Self-Portrait - signed and inscribed watercolour heightened with bodycolour 28 x 32cm.

Estimate: £800 - £1,200
Realised: £2,200

Lot FS28/322

Lot FS28/322: Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - Portrait Study of A Man, Project 15 Death, 1982

Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - Portrait study of a Man, Project 15 Death, 1982- signed bottom right oil on board 40 x 50cm.

Estimate: £300 - £500
Realised: £3,000

Lot SF20/27

Lot SF20/27: Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - The Painter with Mary in Newspaper Magi-Fool's Hats Also Known As 'Paper Crowns'

Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - The Painter with Mary in Newspaper Magi-Fool's Hats also known as 'Paper Crowns'- Project 14. The Painter with Mary: a Study in Obsessional Behaviour. 1981 oil on canvas 48cm x 69cm.

Estimate: £30,000 - £50,000
Realised: £32,000

Lot SF20/48

Lot SF20/48: Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - Woman Walking Away

Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - Woman Walking Away - Project 8. Jealousy. 1977 oil on board 61 x 122cm.

Estimate: £25,000 - £35,000
Realised: £28,000

Lot SF20/26

Lot SF20/26: Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - Self-Portrait At Private Studio, Priory Road, Lower Compton. 2000

Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - Self-Portrait at Private Studio, Priory Road, Lower Compton. 2000- signed twice, inscribed with title and further inscribed 'Non-Project Piece' on the reverse also marked with a red triangle oil on canvas 58 x 58cm.

Estimate: £20,000 - £30,000
Realised: £20,000

Lot SF20/110

Lot SF20/110: Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - Diogenes and Belle At Prayer with Chairs

Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - Diogenes and Belle at Prayer with Chairs - Project 2. Death and the Maiden. 1974 oil on canvas 196 x 214cm.

Estimate: £20,000 - £30,000
Realised: £18,000

Lot SF20/90

Lot SF20/90: Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - The Night Watch

Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - The Night Watch - Project 3. Mental Handicap. 1976 oil on canvas 193 x 290cm Originally almost the same size (304 x 426 cm) as Rembrandt's painting of the same name before being cut to manageable size by the artist, the Night Watch was the centrepiece of the Mental Handicap Project in 1976 and was unveiled by Plymouth's Lord Mayor, Arthur Floyd. Concealed behind a vast curtain at one end of the warehouse studio Jacob's Ladder, this deliberately invoked the great unveiling scene in Alexander Korda's 1936 film Rembrandt, which had first inspired Lenkiewicz to become a painter when he saw it on television as a boy. As in Rembrandt's painting, Lenkiewicz is depicting those who 'look after' and are 'responsible for' the vulnerable in our society. Sitters for the painting were drawn from the social services and other care organisations concerned with people with learning difficulties. Left to right: Dr Hans de Rijke; Superintendant Physiotherapist at the Trengweath Spastic Centre, Viv Sloaman; Ron Moore, headmaster at Mill Ford School; Dr David Owen, MP for Devonport and Minister for Health; Bernard Ashley, director of a skills training centre, 'Cockney Jim', a vagrant; Ken Young, Director of Social Services for West Devon.

Estimate: £15,000 - £20,000
Realised: £22,000

Lot SF20/59

Lot SF20/59: Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - Study - Mark Pierce with Rainbow

Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - Study - Mark Pierce with Rainbow - Project 17. Observations on Local Education / Relationship Series signed twice and inscribed on the reverse, further inscribed 'see Vol.2 Educational Note' oil on canvas 128 x 94cm Long in preparation, Observations on Local Education, his seventeenth Project, emerged in 1988. Two large volumes of observations written by his sitters, including local teachers and headmasters, school children, and radical British educationalists such as Dora Russell and Michael Duane, were published.

Estimate: £8,000 - £12,000
Realised: £7,000

Lot SF20/15

Lot SF20/15: Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - The Painter with Lindsay Seers

Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - The Painter with Lindsay Seers - signed twice on the reverse Project 18. The Painter with Women oil on board 41 x 33cm.

Estimate: £8,000 - £10,000
Realised: £8,000

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Sale FS22; Lot: 0974: By Direction of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter Cathedral - A pair of 16th Century Italian carved giltwood and polychrome decorated thrones, the high panelled backs with arcaded pendant hung canopies of half dodecogonal form, pierced and decorated with scrolling foliage, one with foliate scroll finials, the other lacking and with vaulted interiors of star shape, each with a central pendant, the polychrome decorated rectangular panels with female figures and birds amidst scrolling foliage, between canted panelled stiles in gilt with red and gilt decorated reserves, the box seats with short arm supports on turned uprights, having panels with coat of arms to either side, the seats with central Moresque decorated panels, flanked by stiles with raised masks and foliage, on block feet, Circa 1620, 223.5cm (7ft 4in) high, the seats 74cm (2ft 5in) wide. *Note A gift to Exeter Cathedral by the Reverend Sir Patrick Ferguson Davie BT, Circa 1960 of Creedy Park, Devon. Purchased in London the thrones are discussed in Charles Tracy&#39;s book Continental Church Furniture in England - A Traffic in Piety, pages 138 - 139.

Sale: FS22 (29 Apr 2014)
Auction Lot: 0974
Estimate: £10,000-£15,000
Realised: £9,000
By Direction of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter Cathedral - A pair of 16th Century Italian carved giltwood and polychrome decorated thrones, the high panelled backs with arcaded pendant ...

Sale BK14; Lot: 0101: KORAN Illuminated manuscript, 410 pages, 221 x 141 mm, cont red gilt morocco, with matching doublures, gilt edges, with flap, AH 1293 [1876 A D]. * the caligrapher Yayya Hilmi &#39;&#39;Efendi&#39;&#39;, the illumination is of outstanding quality, including a magnificent double frontispiece, decorated in two tones of gold, light green and pale blue. Each panel of text is within a thick gold border with decorations in the margins. The tissue guards protecting the frontispiece are also exquisitely illuminated. This manuscript belongs to the Court style of Ottoman manuscripts, made as gifts and endowments. It was therefore most probably produced in Constantinople.

Sale: BK14 (26 Aug 2015)
Auction Lot: 0101
Estimate: £1,000-£1,500
Realised: £230,000
KORAN Illuminated manuscript, 410 pages, 221 x 141 mm, cont red gilt morocco, with matching doublures, gilt edges, with flap, AH 1293 [1876 A D]. * the caligrapher Yayya Hilmi ...

Sale FS12; Lot: 0185: An 18ct gold presentation snuff box, inscribed &#39;The Cumberland Coal Association ...&#39;, Maker Edward Smith, Birmingham 1862, 177 gms.

Sale: FS12 (19 Oct 2011)
Auction Lot: 0185
Estimate: £5,000-£7,000
Realised: £4,500
An 18ct gold presentation snuff box, inscribed 'The Cumberland Coal Association ...', Maker Edward Smith, Birmingham 1862, 177 gms.