SAN FRANCISCO (Jan. 14)
Leo Schneider, a Jewish businessman, has undertaken an enormous project: The re-creation of all 800 paintings of the famous Dutch master, Vincent van Gogh. So far Schneider has completed 50 reproductions and people in the art world say they are superb. At age 60,Schneider doubts that he will be able to complete all 800 paintings. He’s going to try, though. He took up this unusual hobby after a heart attack eight years ago. He was looking for something to keep him occupied and off his problem. Then he went to the van Gogh movie, ” Lust for Life.” “I was hooked,” Schneider said. He has read everything he could about the painter, He has collected postcards of his paintings and used them in his own work. Schneider signs the reproductions “Leon” –his pen name–and they are “absolutely not for sale.” Friends have asked the pipe-smoking former New Yorker, “Why not a Jewish painter like Chagall or Modigiiani?” “Look,” Schneider tells them, “their style of painting wasn’t that of van Gogh. That’s all I can say. He’s my infatuation, my drunkenness.” Schneider works for Troy of California, a men’s wear manufacturer, But five nights and every weekend he is in his studio in his home here working on another van Gogh. His object is not pure van Gogh; he gets a little of himself into each painting too. Hence the famous van Gogh, “self-portrait” is noticeably more cheerful in the Schneider treatment of it. “One of these days,” the businessman says, “I’d like to try some pure Schneiders too.” If he has time.