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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 FS36/460

Lot FS36/460: Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - Alan Walker Pyne

Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - Alan Walker Pyne - Project 3, Mental Handicap, circa 1976 signed, inscribed by the sitter and the father of the sitter, on a label attached to the reverse oil on board, 50 x 40cm.

Estimate: £400 - £600
Realised: £320

Lot FS36/459

Lot FS36/459: Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - Allison Lamble

Robert O Lenkiewicz [1941-2002] - Allison Lamble - Project 3, Mental Handicap, circa 1976 signed, inscribed by the sitter and the mother of the sitter, on a label attached to the reverse oil on board, 30 x 47.5cm.

Estimate: £300 - £500
Realised: £480

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

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