10 stunning Winter Olympics posters

justCollecting

justCollecting

2017-12-20 15:37:04

Perhaps it’s the snowy backdrops. Perhaps it’s the scenes of athleticism. Whatever the reason, original Winter Olympic posters are more than just advertisements. They are among the most beautiful things you can put on your wall. Here are 10 of the most striking:

Chamonix 1924

Value for an original: $2,000

How many were made? 5,000

Image of the Games? Yes. (Several official posters have traditionally been produced for each Games. But only one can win the accolade of Image of the Games, awarded by the president of the International Olympic Committee at the Games’ conclusion.)

Chamonix '24 was the first Winter Olympics. Auguste Matisse (no relation to Henri) produced this art deco-influenced poster at the behest of the Paris-Lyon-Méditerranée (PLM) railway, one of the main financial backers of the first Games.

Yes, that’s a five man bobsled you can see. Teams were allowed four or five members in those first laissez-faire Games.

The first Winter Olympics also included an event called "military patrol", a pre-cursor to the biathlon.

Lake Placid 1932

Value for original: $3,500

How many made? 15,000

Image of the Games? Yes

The ski-jumper-and-US-map motif was also used as the Games’ logo, its minimalist style a reflection of the art ethic of the day.

Sled dog racing was a demonstration event at this Olympics. This was the last winter Games without alpine skiing.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936

Value for original: $4,500

How many made? 128,600

Image of the Games? Yes

While the summer Games of that year was notable for Jesse Owens’ four golds in front of Adolf Hitler, six months earlier Nazi Germany had hosted the winter event – in some ways a dress rehearsal for the summer version. For the 10 days of competition the Nazis tried to present themselves to the world as a benevolent dictatorship. This included removing all signs and posters stating “Jews not wanted” from the two Bavarian host towns.

St Moritz 1948

Value for original: $1,500

How many made? 15,000

Image of the Games? Yes

Two amorous cross-country skiers stop and look at the winter sun. The colourful snowflakes adding to the beauty. This striking poster is among the first not to depict athletes, instead seeking to invoke feelings of wonder.

The Games were the first for 12 years, due to the second world war. They included, for the first and only time, the "winter pentathlon". It consisted of 10k cross-country skiing, fencing, shooting, horseback riding and downhill skiing.

Innsbruck 1976

Value for original: $100

How many made? Unknown

Image of the Games? Yes

Is it a skate blade? A bobsled runner? A ski jump? Or just a big “I”? Whatever it is, it’s beautiful.

Innsbruck saved the day after original hosts Denver pulled out with just three years to go. Arthur Zelger, who designed the emblem for the Innsbruck Games 12 years earlier, also produced this poster.

Sarajevo 1984

Andy Warhol:


Value for original: $500

How many made? Unknown

Image of the Games? No

David Hockney:

Value for original: $1,500

How many made? Unknown

Image of the Games? No

In addition to the Games’ main posters, the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (OCOG) commissioned 16 posters by well-known artists. Andy Warhol and David Hockney’s efforts are much-collected today.

Lillehammer 1994

Value for original: $40

How many made? Unknown

Image of the Games? Yes

Prehistoric Norwegian cave paintings, said to be the word’s earliest depictions of skiing, inspired the emblems of the Lillehammer Games. This poster continues the theme, adding a torch from the relay for good measure.

Lillehammer was the first winter Games that didn’t share a year with its summer cousin.

Salt Lake City 2002

Value for original: $20

How many made? Unknown

Image of the Games? No

While not the most famous poster of the 2002 Games, Pierre Matisse’s rendering of a bobsled run is by far the best. Its beautiful simplicity making for a striking image.

And yes, this Matisse is a relation. He’s the grandson of the celebrated one.

Torino 2006 

Value for original: $40

How many made? Unknown

Image of the Games? No

Elise Thomason’s designs for Torino’s pictograms found their way onto the Games’ tickets, medals, uniforms, outside venues, and posters.

All 16 events received Thomason’s colourful treatment, including this piece for the cross-country skiing.

PyeongChang 2018

Value for original: Not yet released

How many made? Unknown

Image of the Games? No

As with most Olympics, PyeongChang 2018 has commissioned several artists to produce official posters that go beyond mere representations of the events themselves.

This is Kim Jae-young’s rendering of the Taebaek Mountains, one of the country’s longest mountain stretches. 

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