With the London Olympics almost here, it seems appropriate to share a discovery I made during one of my recent visits to Brussels. In a beautiful house in Boulevard Saint Michel, former banker Jean-Louis Lamot displays part of his unique collection. He has spent the last 23 years travelling the world to build one of the biggest private collections of vintage original posters and memorabilia relating to sports and the Olympic Games.
It is a comprehensive collection covering the whole history of the Olympic Games. The poster collection includes close to 1,600 different original posters. The practice of creating a main official poster for the Games started in Stockholm in 1912 with a poster designed by Olle Hjortzber, a well-known Swedish artist and decorator.
Since 1968, the year of the Mexican Olympics, the number of posters increased with multiple approved designs. Posters became real works of art with both historical and artistic value. Famous artists and graphic designers were commissioned such as Yusaku Kamekura (Tokyo, 1964), Andy Warhol (Sarajevo, 1984), David Hockney, Victor Vasarely and R.B. Kitaj’ (Munich, 1972). The tradition continues for the 2012 Games with designs from a list of artists including Tracey Emin, Rachel Whiteread, Chris Ofili and Martin Creed.
The memorabilia, which is also an important part of the collection, include books, official reports, postcards, diplomas, photographs, programs, mascots, and medals. To illustrate each game, Lamot has selected objects relating to Olympic rituals and symbols such as, for example, the Olympic hymn (1896), the flag with the rings (1914), the oath (1920) and the relay of the flame (1936). He has also selected the main stars for each Game (Johnny Weismuller, Sonja Henie, Jesse Owens, Emil Zatopek, Cassius Clay and so on).
Among the beautiful objects displayed in the gallery, one can find, for example, a Sèvres vase offered to Olympic winners at the 1924 Paris Olympic Games and an Art Deco scarf designed by A. Plas for the Amsterdam Olympic Games of 1928.
The Lamot Gallery is well known for building private collections and lending posters and memorabilia to exhibitions abroad. For more information, also contact Michele Fajtmann at email@example.com.