Sunday, September 04, 2022

COLOUR SUPPLEMENT: Robert Lenkiewicz (1941-2002), by JD

Lenkiewicz is ignored by the 'art establishment' because his work is figurative and as such is unfashionable and not "cutting edge" or "challenging" or whatever Artspeak is currently in vogue.

Based in Plymouth, he never courted the London art establishment, and became respected solely on his own terms - through hard work, skill, and his unique vision.

Lenkiewicz could well be ignored also because he liked to paint beautiful young ladies and he often put himself in the picture.

If Lenkiewicz is known at all it will be for his association with a Plymouth tramp by the name of Edward McKenzie, known as 'Diogenes'. After McKenzie's death, and with his prior agreement, Lenkiewicz took posession of the 'vacated premises' as McKenzie had referred to his corpse and had the body embalmed. It was then kept in the studio (in a drawer according to rumour.)

The City Council were somewhat agitated by this but Lenkiewicz reminded them that they had two Egyptian mummies in the City museum asking "Is it because mine is new?"

He also painted other tramps as well as others on the margins of society and, until the year before his death, he would provide a free Christmas dinner for the homeless.

Read more about this remarkable man here

The painter surrounded by his muses -

And the mural he painted on the wall outside his studio in Plymouth -