De Niro honors late father with documentary
PARK CITY, UTAH - Robert De Niro's father, Robert De Niro Sr., was an abstract expressionist painter, part of the post-WWII art scene that produced such talent as Jackson Pollock. He was even endorsed by the famed art collector and socialite Peggy Guggenheim. But while he was successful when he started out in the 1940s and '50s, De Niro Sr.'s work went out of style as pop art became the trend in the '60s.
He died in 1993 at 71, but his story is now being told by his Oscar-winning son. De Niro has made a documentary about his father called "Remembering the Artist Robert De Niro Sr.," which premiered at Sundance Film Festival and will air on HBO in June. He also put some of his father's work on display at the Julie Nester Gallery in Park City.
While attending a reception at the gallery on Sunday, De Niro said the intention was to make the documentary for his family.
When asked what he thought his father would think of the film, De Niro joked that he would probably be uncomfortable by the attention. "He would be flattered on the one hand and say, 'Well, I don't know, that's not accurate,' or this or that.' "
De Niro said he has tried to feature his father's art in his own work, like at his New York restaurant, the Tribeca Grill.
"I asked him if he would let me hang some of his paintings there, and I thought for sure he's not gonna like that, but he actually went along with it," De Niro said. "He hung them himself. And then I asked him if he'd do the menu and he did the menu, which is still there. . . . It will be there as long as the place exists."