Robert Lenkiewicz

Robert Oskar Lenkiewicz was born in London on 31 December, 1941. His parents were Jewish refugees and ran a hotel in Kilburn for fellow refugees, some of whom were survivors of Nazi concentration camps.

Robert Lenkiewicz began painting at an early age, often using hotel residents as his subjects. At the age of sixteen he began studying at St. Martin’s College of Art and Design and later at the Royal Academy.

He moved to Plymouth in 1969 and was drawn to vagrants and alcoholics. He helped them to commandeer old warehouses for shelter and they in return would sit for him and be the subjects for his paintings.

# Modern British Artists

Lenkiewicz embarked on a series of ‘Projects’, the first of which was Vagrancy. These ‘Projects’ would combine paintings with observations and notes written by both the painter and the subject, sometimes together with notes from the people involved with their care.

For the residents of Plymouth Robert Lenkiewicz was becoming a familiar figure. He painted a large mural onto the façade of a building near to his studio on The Barbican. The mural portrayed famous historical figures such as Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh.

He also came to attention in 1981 when he faked his own death to publicize an upcoming Project. He was in fact alive and well.

Robert Lenkiewicz was an avid collector of books, building up a collection of some 25,000 volumes on subjects which included art, psychology, sexuality and magic. Many of his paintings were sold to fund the purchase of a ‘must have’ book which was in the hands of a London dealer.

Robert O Lenkiewicz died from a serious heart condition on 5 August 2002. He was buried, according to his wishes, in the garden of his home in Lower Compton.

# Modern British Artists