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Art Competitions at the 1928 Amsterdam Summer Games

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Host City: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Date Started: May 17, 1928
Date Finished: August 12, 1928
Events: 13

Participants: 370 (332 men and 38 women) from 19 countries
Youngest Participant: USA Patrick O'Connor (19 years, 12 days)
Oldest Participant: USA John Quincy Ward (97 years, 322 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): FRA Jacques Lambert (2 medals)
Most Medals (Country): GER Germany (8 medals)


Based on the ideas of [Pierre de Coubertin] the Amsterdam Organizing Committee had the option to carry out the art competitions with great care. It formed a )working committee) with Cornelis W. H. Baard as the Chairman, with J. W. Teilers serving as Secretary-General. In addition an Advisory Committee was formed which was responsible for each of the five categories. Information meetings with the representatives of the various Dutch art organizations were held, and contacts with the NOCs and arts organizations of the participating countries were established. The excellent contact with Edwin Redslob in Germany, which put much effort into German participation, was explicitly mentioned in the Official Report. The working committee worked out a call for proposals which was published in five languages, and was sent to the NOCs at the end of July 1928, with 700 French, 400 German, 450 English, 200 Spanish and 400 Dutch copies printed. In these languages, a registration form was written, and an advertising poster was designed.

On 12 June 1928 the exhibition at the “Stedelijk Museum” of Amsterdam was opened by the Dutch Minister of Education, Arts and Science Marius Alphonse Marie Waszink, with many guests of honor. Sculptures of larger sizes were exhibited in the area of the Olympic Stadium. The exhibition closed on 12 August 1928. Around 10,000 visitors saw the exhibition.

From 1912-24 there were only the five categories in the art competitions (Architecture, Sculpture, Literature, Painting and Music), but in 1928 13 sub-categories were created as follows\:

•Architecture\: Design For Town Planning; Architectural Designs

•Literature\: Lyrical Works; Dramatic Works; Epic Works

•Sculpture\: Statues; Medals and Reliefs

•Painting\: Paintings; Drawings and Water Colors; Graphic Arts

•Music\: Compositions for Orchestra; Compositions for Solo Or Chorus; Compositions for Instrumental and Chamber.

Within the art catalogue the names and addresses of the artists and the name of their art works were sorted by country and then by genres, but the division by genres is not complete, and it is not always clear how the works of art were classified, which is also true for the exhibitions catalogues in 1932 and 1936. According to the artist, a price list of their works was added, so they could be bought after the exhibition. It is obvious that such a list displeased the IOC members as guardians of the amateur ideal, and this was also one of the reasons to abolish the art competitions after 1948. A third part of the catalogues followed with numerous illustrations of the works of art.

The Official Report counted 651 applications (1,150 exhibits) of 370 artists (including 38 women) from 19 countries. Among them were 450 architectural models, drawings and photographs, including 80 medals, 255 sculptures and reliefs, 450 paintings, drawings and graphic works, 40 literary submissions, and 22 melodies. Juries were formed for the five art categories.