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Portrait of Andrew Leeman

David Hockney
Fine ink pen on paper
Dimensions (cm)
27.9 by 35.4 cm
Dimensions (in)
11" x 13⅞ inches approx.
Signed and datet June 1968
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Stock No
Provenance: Gallery Yves Arman, New York Christie's New York, 2 November 1984, Lot 198 Private Collection, New York (acquired at the above sale) NOTES : From The Times- August 21, 2007 ANDREW LEEMAN Influential and gregarious restaurateur. Andrew Leeman was an ebullient bon vivant who lived life to the full but at the same time made sure that the guests at his restaurants enjoyed themselves. Leeman was the ideal front-of-house man, a talent he ably demonstrated at Morton's in Berkeley Square and at Langan's Brasserie in its glory days. He was famed as the man who refused Mick Jagger entry to Langan's for being improperly dressed. At Morton's he decided where the beautiful people sat, including Diana, Princess of Wales, a frequent guest. But he was generous too. One winter night he found a tramp outside Morton's, brought him in, fed him, and then, mischievously, put him in one of the chauffeured Rolls-Royces always outside and sent him round Berkeley Square to Annabel's. His sparkle and love of life imbued all his restaurants and hotels. The gossip columnist Nigel Dempster (obituary, July 13, 2007 ) called him "the most handsome man in London", and his blonde hair, blue eyes and suntan enchanted many women diners. The restaurant critic Fay Maschler said that he strode through Langan's "like a Greek god". Andrew Richard Alexander Leeman was born in 1946. After schooling at Embley Park near Romsey in Hampshire - where he inaugurated the custom of bringing in a busload of girls for school dances - he decided that the family horticultural business and country life were not for him and studied catering at Westminster College. On returning to London after graduating from the Lausanne Hotel School he came to the notice of Sir Hugh Wontner, chairman of the Savoy Group, who offered him a graduate trainee post. Leeman worked his way round the Savoy, Claridge's and the Berkeley's new Perroquet restaurant. His Savoy days gave him an offbeat celebrity. His long-time partner Maxine White introduced him to John Cleese, and they became friends, drawn together, it was said, by a love of backgammon, food and wine. In 1977, to avoid the Queen's Silver Jubilee in London, they went for a holiday on Hydra where Cleese picked Leeman's brains about his worst hotel experience. Leeman told Cleese it was when he was a trainee and had found a dead body in a Savoy bedroom and had to remove it discreetly. This became the basis for the 1979 Kipper and the Corpse episode of Fawlty Towers in which Basil serves out-of-date kippers to a guest who then dies. In honour of the story's source, the dead guest was named Andrew Leeman. Leeman's first pre-Savoy catering effort was working with his sister at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre for Sir Clement Freud who became a friend and later chairman of his London restaurant group. Other early entrepreneurial food ventures were selling his grandmother's apples at the Isle of Wight festival and, with Maxine White, selling soup at a Yorkshire pop festival during one of the worst ever recorded storms - she recalled that the soup just blew away. His first managerial job was at Daisy in the Kings Road. After a few years, with the support of friends, he opened his first restaurant, the Sussex in Pimlico, to which Princess Margaret came. After working at Morton's in Berkeley Square, which opened in 1976, he moved to Langan's Brasserie where he occasionally had to rescue the owner Peter Langan from the gutter and dust down his white suit. When Leeman left, Langan offered him a choice of the paintings in the restaurant or £1,000. Leeman opted for the cash - unfortunately for him the paintings went on to become worth much more. Leeman adored the US and often visited Texas to pursue his passion for shooting. He liked the food and decided that Britain was ready for nachos, burritos, tacos and margaritas and opened his Texas Lone Star Saloon on the corner of Gloucester Road and Harrington Gardens on July 4, 1980. The large Native American Indian figure that stood outside was such a noted landmark it formed part of the London taxi drivers' "knowledge". In 1984 the success of Texas Lone Star led Leeman to open, with two friends, the first Palms restaurant in Kensington; it was to be the first of many, including Steamboat Charlie's, Casper's Bar Grill and Telephone Exchange, and Tall Orders. Leeman also enjoyed great success when he turned his hand to country house hotels, the Feathers at Woodstock and Bishopstrow House in Wiltshire becoming beacons for his diverse hospitality group. Leeman was never a man to have an empty glass in his hand - nor to tolerate such a thing in his guests. His connections to the london social scene in the late 1960s meant he was most likely to have come to sit for David Hockney through his friendship to Sir Clement Freud or other social pillars of the community. His heady days at the Savoy gave him an offbeat celebrity status of which Hockney would no dought have been aware of.