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Manuel Neri (American, b.1930)

Sculptures

Also known as:  John Manuel Neri

Birth Place: Sanger, CA

Biography:

Who is sculptor Manuel Neri?

Manuel Neri is an American sculptor who primarily works with plaster, bronze, or marble to create life-size figurative sculptures. Often these sculptures are impressionistic, hinting at the emotion or subtext of the subject through their body language. He has famously worked with the same model for the last four decades -- Julia Klimenko. Neri is often classified as a modernist sculptor. He has taught at several prestigious institutions in his career, including the California School of Fine Arts, UC Berkeley, and as a member of the faculty at UC Davis for 35 years.

His sculptures and art have won him several awards. Some of these include the International Sculpture Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, an NEA Grant, an Academy Art Institute Award from The American Academy and Institute for Arts, and three honorary doctorates. His sculptures have been commissioned for several state and federal buildings and his work is featured in countless museums and private collections both in the US and around the world.

What kind of art does Manuel Neri make?

Manuel Neri is a modernist artist whose figurative sculptures are typically life-sized and made from plaster, bronze, or marble. Early in his career, Neri worked with “found” items like burlap, wire, or cardboard. The through-line is that Neri’s work is always extremely evocative, thanks to his ability to create emotion through simple body language and perceived movement. Neri comes from a long line of US sculptors and artists, claiming inspiration from names as diverse as David Park, Richard Diebenkorn, and even Elmer Bischoff. He has been a member of the Bay Area Figurative School since its inception and currently maintains a studio in California as well as one in Carrara, Italy.

How did sculptor Manuel Neri get started?

Manuel Neri was born in Sanger, California in 1930. His parents were both immigrants who left Mexico during the Mexican Revolution. Initially, his studies would take him to San Francisco City College in their electrical engineering program, but a ceramics class changed the course of his life forever. He transferred to the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland and studied under the legendary Richard Diebenkorn. It was there that he began to experiment with his life-sized sculptures. First making them with found objects and plaster, then later experimenting with bronze, marble, and other traditional mediums. He was a member of the Six Gallery in San Francisco in the 1950s.

How much are Manuel Neri sculptures worth?

Manuel Neri sculptures and paintings can vary greatly in their worth, as little as $2,000 for some paintings and up to almost $290,000 for a major sculpture. The most ever paid for a Manuel Neri sculpture at auction is $289,000 for the piece Untitled (1983) which sold on November 15th, 2007. This piece sold for over three times its high estimate. Neri’s sculptures are quite popular, but also often quite large -- most are life-sized and made from bronze or marble.

Where to buy Manuel Neri sculptures for sale?

See the works for sale below. Why buy from Heritage? Art buyers feel confident because our experts know the market and put careful valuations on the artwork for sale. We make the bidding process easier to help you expand your art collection.

How to value Manuel Neri sculptures?

The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services Department.


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Manuel Neri Original Art values sold at auction

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