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Munich 1972 Olympic posters: Art inspired by Olympic ideals at the Walker Art Gallery
The 1972 Munich Olympics aimed to promote a positive image of both international sporting activity and the modern German nation.

LIVERPOOL.- Official posters for the 1972 Munich Olympics went on display a week ago at the Walker Art Gallery to celebrate London 2012, until the end of the year.

The striking 18 lithographic prints, all from the Walker’s own collection, feature the work of world-famous artists including David Hockney, Allen Jones, Oskar Kokoshka, Ron Kitaj and Eduardo Chillida.

The 1972 Munich Olympics aimed to promote a positive image of both international sporting activity and the modern German nation. The official motto of the event was ‘The Happy Games’, but this ideal was tragically overshadowed by the murder of 11 members of the Israeli team by members of the Palestinian group ‘Black September’.

The Munich 1972 posters were the first of their type, commissioned as part of an effort in ‘relating artistic activity to the Olympic Games’. Since 1972 artists’ posters have become a key part of Olympic celebrations, often revealing the links between sport, art, politics, commerce and culture.

The 1972 artists, selected by the organising committee, represented both established and progressive trends of the early ‘70s. Artists were free to choose their themes, but encouraged to incorporate a relationship with the Olympic ideal.

David Hockney’s poster, which depicts an athletic figure diving into a shimmering pool, is reminiscent of Hockney’s John Moores Prize winning painting, Peter Getting Out Of Nick's Pool (1967), also on display at the Walker.

Eduardo Chillida, best-known for his large, bulky, block-like sculptures produced a poster which suggests the powerful and dynamic forces of the human body in action.

Allen Jones’ poster tells the story behind leading running shoe companies, Puma and Adidas. The two companies had originally been one, run by two brothers. They split after a family feud and Jones’ poster puts the two companies head to head, referring to the competition of business, sport and family rivalry.

The 1960s fashion for Op Art brought German-born Josef Albers belated recognition and acclaim as an international artist. Best known for his Homage to the Square paintings, Albers’ Olympics poster follows the Homage format with an added ‘mitred’ effect to suggest receding perspective.

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