Robert Lenkiewicz (1941-2002) 'Diogenes and Black Pipe' oil on board, with original artist title label on reverse, signed, framed, 50cm x 40cm.
As part of the 1972/3 Vagrancy Project the artist often painted local vagrants who would gather around a ‘dos house’ known as Jacob Ladder. Lenkiewicz named him Diogenes after the Greek Philosopher who lived in a barrel after finding the tramp dwelling in a concrete pipe in a rubbish tip. Real name Edwin McKenzie (1912-1984), Diogenes soon became very popular at the studio with many people coming in to see not just the artwork but to meet the man himself. Many of the paintings were exhibited at the vagrancy exhibition in 1973 held at Jacobs Ladder.
The artist arranged for Diogenes to be embalmed following his death.
‘Then, as he was dying, we had an understanding; he very much had the policy of ‘live while you can and live in clover, when you’m dead, you’m dead all over- — he didn’t much care what happened to the corpse. After he died I kept the agreement, which was to take the corpse, the “vacated premises”, and pass it on to a local funeral parlour who could embalm him effectively, and this was done. And it was done effectively because I have the corpse to this day.’ – Quote from Robert Lenkiewicz by Joe Stoneman.
Provenance, acquired by the owners family circa 1980.