Leslie Lohman Museum




Neel Bate, 1948




Neel Bate, 1948

Photograph by Gene Moore

Neel Bate aka "Blade"

Carlyle Kneeland Bate

or Carl Neeland
November 29, 1916 - June 27, 1989


The American artist, Neel Bate (BLADE) is the true precursor of the Toms, the Rexes, the Etiennes, and the host of other stars in the ever-growing galaxy of homoerotic imagists. No matter how different the styles, no matter how disparate the popularity of different artists, an astonishing number of them trace their first consciousness of a genuinely and overtly gay sexual image to a badly photo-copied series of pictures entitled "The Barn" which first circulated — clandestinely, of course — in 1947/48. In the years since then literally hundreds of thousands of copies — a few good, most of them wretched — of that legendary series have been produced. But at last, Neel Bate's work is where it belongs; not frutively passed from hand to hand, but in an art gallery for the world to see and for serious connoisseurs of erotica to appreciate


~ Charles Leslie, Co-Founder



The Leslie-Lohman Museum is fortunate to have in its permanent archive the largest collection of work by the artist Neel Bate known to exist anywhere. It numbers 244 drawings and paintings.


Neel Bate wrote and illustrated a great number of his own stories and was known and published extensively in New York in the gay underground of the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's. Many of his pieces were stolen or have been destroyed by "unenlighted" people or lost, but we know some must still reside "out there." If you know of the where -abouts of original work by Neel Bate or as he oftentimes signed drawings, "Blade," please let us know. LLM is cataloging his work and the more information we have the better to document a time and place that is but a memory now. We are also interested in interviewing friends and acquaintances to get a more complete picture of this unique artist and to trace the whereabouts of his remaining works. 


The slender volume The Barn 1948 and more Dirty Pictures by Blade was published by Stompers and the Leslie-Lohman Gallery in 1980. It consists of a series of explicit homoerotic short stories written and illustrated by Blade. LLM still has a number of them available for $10 (plus $1 s/h) each and it can be acquired by contacting the Museum. 


Additional images and biographical information will be posted to these pages as they become available. Check back often to catch a glimpse of an artist whose work touched many and who remains as pertinent and fresh to us today as he was unique to a time which now seems the "golden age" of gay male history.                                                                                                   

~ Wayne Snellen, Director


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