Leroy Neiman’s flair for creating brilliantly colored sketches of sporting events, jazz clubs, and the international high life made him one of the most popular artists of post-war America. Popularity, of course, does not guarantee acceptance into the pantheon of great artists so, much like Andrew Wyeth, his detractors were many. But Neiman quite consciously cast himself as a chronicler of public life much in the manner of Toulouse-Lautrec and Degas and in the context of the times, his splashy, colorful, quickly executed paintings, drawings, and serigraphs are defining evocations that capture the era better than almost any other artist. As he rightfully noted, “people respond to and love my paintings because they are spectators and not simply viewers. They are ‘in it’ for the thrill of experiencing and re-experiencing the event.” Few artists can claim such a deep bond with their audience, and he connected with everyone — famous or not — with an unapologetically flamboyant personality that recalled Dalí’s mustache, props, and shenanigans. Carnival in Venice was painted in 1971 at the veritable height of his popularity that would continue unabated until his death in 2012. Vast in scale and festive, it reads as a montage as well as a fair reckoning of myriad activities along the Venetian coast during Carnival that according to legend began after the Venetian military victory of 1162. The painting is a tour de force. It showcases Neiman’s ability to use successive layers of color to carve and otherwise embellish formal elements in a highly charged improvisational display of skillful handing of a loaded brush and palette knife. Bursting with color, its scumbled passages are as impulsive as they are controlled — yet another Leroy Neiman painting that is bigger and brighter than most people can imagine.