Image size 26 1/4" x 32 1/2" (66.68 x 82.55 cm)
A limited edition of 300 numbered impressions, signed by the artist
Image also published as a poster, poster size 25 1/8" x 29 5/8"
LeRoy Neiman's painting, The Metropolitan Opera, celebrates one of the world's greatest opera houses and the world's largest cultural center, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.
The artist is intimately familiar with the arts complex as he maintains his home and studio just a few blocks away, off Central Park West. Both he and the Opera moved to the neighborhood at about the same time, in the 1960's. Then, the Upper West Side was a very different kind of neighborhood, forever immortalized in the Broadway musical and film, West Side Story. In a daring and visionary experiment in urban renewal, many blocks of tenements were razed to make way for Lincoln Center. Today the arts anchor a neighborhood that is among the most vibrant and cosmopolitan in the world.
On the evening of September 16, 1966, the artist was on hand to record the grand opening night of the new Opera House. The cream of New York society turned out to inaugurate the great hall and witness the world premiere of Samuel Barber's Antony and Cleopatra. In the painting, the five enormous facade windows, with their delicate latticework reminiscent of Mondrian abstracts, are aflame in gold, reds and greens, lit from within by the lobby's vast crystal chandelier and the murals by Chagall. White light emanates from the fountain in the center of the plaza, illuminating the elegant crowd in formal attire, surging with excitement as they make their way into the world's newest and greatest cultural center. The artist was there making sketches which led to the opening night painting, followed by a limited edition serigraph released in 1978 in an edition of 300 numbered impressions. A poster edition was later released to bring the image to a wider audience.