Robert De Niro has screened a 40 minute documentary on his gay artist father at the Sundance Film Festival, telling a Q and A panel that he wanted his younger kids to know who their grandfather had been.
‘I did this for him,’ De Niro told festival-goers at the Yarrow Theater after the screening on Sunday.
‘I wanted my younger kids who were born after he died to know what their grandfather did. I even kept his painting studio intact so they could see it.’
Robert De Nero Sr was a successful figurative painter during the 40’s and 50’s but his work fell out of favor during the 1960’s with the coming of Pop Art.
He married De Niro Jr’s mother Virginia Admiral, a painter and poet, in 1941 and De Niro the actor was born two years later.
The couple divorced in 1945 when De Nero Sr came out as gay. However they remained close throughout the rest of their lives until he died in 1993 aged 71 – as did father and son.
Remembering the Artist Robert De Niro Sr director Perri Peltz told the Hollywood Reporter that the film was initially something De Niro Jr had wanted to be simply a private project for his family members but it will screen on the HBO network in June.
‘But then we realized it tells the story not just of Robert De Niro's Sr.'s work - which is amazing - but the entire art world of the time.’
De Niro Jr owns many of his father and mother’s paintings and helped support his father financially in his later years.
De Nero Jr dedicated his directorial debut A Bronx Tale to his father, which came out in the same year as his death.