Olympische Spiele Munchen “The Artistic Series”

March 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Olympics Posters have been prized since the first International Olympics in 1896.

Original David Hockney Olympics Poster

Original David Hockney Olympics Poster Printed 1972

Because the Olympics is such an important event and an event which is planned many years ahead of time, Olympics committees develop a concept, sometimes a logo or official image and mascot and then these things become part of the graphic identity of a particular Olympics. The posters are commissioned years in advance, and the artists chosen with care, often by contest.

It is a truism that artists produce better work when they are expressing themselves, then when they are trying to express the vision of their clients by commission.  (For more on this, see “Drive” by Daniel Patterson)*  This is apparent when viewing the famous “Artistic Series” of Olympic Posters from the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

Original Josef Albers Olympics Poster Printed 1972

The 1960’s encouraged experiment, and so, for the first time, a group of artists was selected by the Olympics Committee to create osters and given free reign to create what they pleased.  Twenty-eight artists from Japan, Britain, Scotland, Germany, The US, Russia, Austria, Switzerland, Poland,  France, Spain, and Italy designed these posters, and they were printed and sold through the Kennedy galleries of New York.

Some of the artists were already quite prominent when commissioned, such as Jacob Lawrence, Joseph Albers and David Hockney.  Others were lesser known, A few were rising stars such as Chilled, Hartung, Kokoshka. Regardless of the fame of the artist, these posters are a great graphic representation of the style of contemporary art of the time period.

Original Otmar Alt Olympics Poster Printed 1972

Many of our clients collect these posters, because they are beautiful, affordable, and they work well in groupings. In fact, they read like pop art when framed with chunky brushed aluminum frames or white frames.

Our blog, for the next few weeks, will feature some of these posters.  They fit very well with our March Exhibition “March Masters”  which open March 17th in our showroom in Berkeley.  This show features the poster art of fine artists.  You can view the entire Olympics series on our website in the sports section. Enjoy!

*Pink, Daniel H. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. New York: Riverhead, 2011. Print.


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