LENKIEWICZ, Robert

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Robert Lenkiewicz’s visionary style and revolutionary politics have parallels with the work of Romantic poet and painter William Blake and awarded him huge acclaim in his career – largely unsought for.

Born in London in 1941, Lenkiewicz’s parents were Jewish refugees and ran a hotel in Kilburn for fellow refugees, some of whom were survivors of Nazi concentration camps. Growing up alongside these vulnerable and unstable refugees made Lenkiewicz sensitive and socially aware. He built up a library of 25,000+ volumes on philosophy, euthanasia, literature, poetry, art history, sexuality and magic, and had lifelong concerns with the spiritual and the outsider.

Lenkiewicz began painting at an early age, studied at St. Martin’s College from 16, and later at the Royal Academy. On moving to Plymouth, he was drawn to the homeless, alcoholics and their plights. He helped them acquire warehouses for housing and they would sit for him in return. He created a series of original ‘Projects’, including Vagrancy, Mental Handicap, Old Age and Suicide, raising awareness of sidelined sections of the community. For Plymouth residents, Lenkiewicz was an iconic figure. He painted a vast mural onto a building near to his studio on The Barbican, featuring famous historical figures such as Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh. He also came to attention when he faked his own death to publicize an upcoming Project.

Robert Lenkiewicz died from a heart condition in August 2002. Controversial to the last, the embalmed body of favourite local vagrant, ‘Diogenes’, was found in a secret drawer in a bookcase in his studio after his death. Books featuring his paintings include: Robert Lenkiewicz: Paintings and Projects and A Portrait of Robert Lenkiewicz by Francis Mallett and Derek Harris and Robert Lenkiewicz: The Artist and the Man by Keith Nichols.

 We have original, distinctive, Lenkiewicz sketches for sale, several double-sided and all authenticated.