Robert Lenkiewicz photographs released

August 4, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

A set of photographs of a controversial artist who embalmed a tramp and kept him in his studio were released for the first time today.

The images show late painter Robert Lenkiewicz at work in his studio where he famously housed and painted vagrants and alcoholics.

Lenkiewicz died of a heart attack in 2002, aged 60, and it was found he owned just £12 in cash and had and huge debts despite completing thousands of paintings.

When his studio was cleared, the body of tramp Edwin McKenzie was discovered embalmed and stored as a “work of art”.

Lenkiewicz’s estate has now finally been settled after eight years of complicated legal work since and all his assets have been given to the Lenkiewicz Foundation.

Among the items in his estate, which include his paintings and diaries, were a series of photographs which have been released for the first time.

Francis Mallett, chairman of the Lenkiewicz Foundation, described the pictures found at the studio in Plymouth, Devon, as ”hidden treasure”.

He said: ”This in some ways is hidden treasure, allowing us to rediscover the history of Robert. Some of the photographs are nostalgic not just of Robert but of Plymouth.”

Lenkiewicz left hundred of paintings and a library rated as of national significance by the British Museum but had no bank account.

Edwin McKenzie, known as Diogenes – was a close friend of the artist and his whereabouts since his death in the 1980s had been a mystery.

It was believed the dying wish of Mr McKenzie, who had no known family, was that his friend should embalm his body as a ”work of art”.

The pair first met when the tramp was living in a concrete barrel at a rubbish tip near his studio and the artist embalmed him in 1984.

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