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The Big Five
- Limited edition of 585 (edition of 585 plus artist proofs)
- Signed with pencil LeRoy Neiman, lower right
- Numbered from 1/585 to 585/585
LeRoy brings us back to one of his most exotic and exciting locales, the African Savannah. Not long ago, the artist undertook an extended bloodless safari to the wilderness of Kenya. Many of the resulting paintings and drawings appear in his marvelous book, LeRoy Neiman on Safari. The masterpiece of the trip is an enormous diptych on twin canvasses, each 6 feet tall and 12 feet wide. The featured serigraph is taken from the left half of the diptych, painted completely on location. The artist narrates his work:
“To set the stage for the painting drama, allow me to present the cast of characters starring the Big Five – the Lion, the Elephant, the Cape Buffalo, the Rhinoceros and the Leopard, plus cameos by the Cheetah, the Zebra and the Giraffe. A huge stomping bull elephant dominates the center area. With earth-shaking footfalls he cuts a swath through the tall grass, ears flapping full sail. He has rudely interrupted the post-dining naps of two passive, well-fed lions as the pachyderm’s pack follow their leader, plodding and swaying as they trail behind.
“To the left of the centerpiece elephant, an awe-inspiring, massive, prehistoric rhinoceros couple graze unconcerned, grunting and snorting. Their two-inch think hide is so rugged and weathered you’d think the ones your looking at right now are thousands of years old. You can be sure the cagey leopard, camouflaged overhead in his luxurious spotted coat, will not mess with the rhinoceros. With rhino, the idea is just to stay clear. “Behind the rhino is a trio of cheetah, the imperial feline. The passing parade of pachyderms has interrupted their conspiracy to ambush a zebra. To the right of the elephant, the frieze of zebra travel east to west. From this distance their bleatings cannot be heard, but their stripes make them highly visible. On the other side of looming Mt. Kenya are the distinctive, balletic giraffe. With their commanding view they are the snobbish overseers of the veldt. Finally, the cape buffalo are grazing dangerously close to the lions, assuming they are sated. They all face lionward. You just don’t turn your back, whatever the lion’s mood.”
Neiman collectors are sure to covet this spectacular serigraph, full of all the drama and vastness of the African plain.