Olympic rings on display

WINNING STYLES: Allen Jones' iconic image from the Munich Games in 1972 is one of those on display at the exhbition.
WINNING STYLES: Allen Jones' iconic image from the Munich Games in 1972 is one of those on display at the exhbition.
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ARTISTS who have exercised their paintbrushes to create eye-catching Olympic-themed work are being celebrated at a Sunderland museum.

Posters designed by major avant garde artists for the infamous Munich Olympic Games of 1972 are to be shown at Monkwearmouth Station Museum from Saturday.

The specially commissioned works by contemporary artists of the day, such as David Hockney, Serge Paliokov, Oskar Kokoschka, Allen Jones and Max Bill, display strong, individual designs in a wide range of styles.

The exhibition consists of 19 of the 26 original posters and runs until June.

The 40-year-old posters, which are 100cm x 65cm, have undergone careful conservation by specialists to repair minor damage.

Christina Stephenson, conservation officer at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, said: “The posters were in a relatively reasonable condition, but were still in need of conservation to repair and preserve them.

“All small tears and paper damage were repaired with delicate handmade Japanese paper, as it has a very long fibre and is flexible. To bond it, we used a gluten free wheat starch paste, which is reversible and invisible.

“The posters were then humidified, and then gradually dried out in a large veneering press, which is traditionally used to veneer wood.

“Conservation of artefacts and works of art can be a slow process but it’s very rewarding.”

Jo Cunningham, manager of Sunderland Museums, said: “These posters are stunning – we’re lucky to have them in our collection and we are so pleased to be able to display them in this Olympic year.

“They have been immaculately repaired, and now look as striking and colourful as they did 40 years ago. “

Since the Stockholm Games of 1912 every Olympic Games has had an official poster.

The Munich Olympics of 1972 were the Twentieth Modern Games.

Twenty eight contemporary artists of the time produced works with individualistic forms often with strong colours that capture the lively motion of the event.

These posters were published and proved very popular with the general public, raising over two million Deutschemarks for the Organising Committee.

In this exhibition you can see 19 of these works.


•David Hockney (1937 - ) Hockney is an English British Pop artist who studied at the Bradford College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London.

•Pierre Soulages (1919 - ) Soulages is a French artist who studied only briefly at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He is an abstract minimalist artist who is well known for his use of black in his paintings.

•Max Bill (1908 – 1994) Max Bill was a Swiss artist who had trained as a silversmith in Zurich before studying at the Dessau Bauhaus. He adopted the use of consistent geometric-constructive abstraction in his works and was best known for formulating the principles of Concrete Art.

•Serge Poliokoff (1900/1906 – 1969) Poliokoff was born in Russia but lived most of his life in France. He trained at the Académie Forchot and Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris and at the Slade School of Art in London after which he turned towards abstract art, using colour as colour without any figurative context.

•Allen Jones (1937 - ) Jones is an English artist and sculptor who studied at Hornsey College of Art and the Royal College of Art. In the 1960s he moved to the U.S.A. for a while and was heavily influenced by American Pop Art.

The Munich massacre is the often the name given to the horror that unfolded at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

Members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually killed by the Palestinian group Black September.

By the end of the ordeal, the kidnappers had killed 11 Israeli athletes and coaches and a West German police officer. Five of the eight members of Black September were killed by police officers during a failed rescue attempt.

The three surviving kidnappers were captured, but later released by West Germany following the hijacking by Black September of a Lufthansa airliner.

Israel responded to the killings with Operation Spring of Youth and Operation Wrath of God, during which Palestinians suspected of involvement in the massacre were systematically tracked down and killed by Israeli intelligence and special forces.