Martin Linson’s bronze sculpture paying tribute to the Paralympic athlete won first place at the 2012 London Olympic Sport and Art Contest.
The St. Charles sculptor – and a long-time Foundry Art Centre advisor – became the second American artist in the past three Olympiads to win the International Olympic Committee (IOC) art competition. The 2012 contest was held Monday, June 11 at the IOC’s Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.
His sculpture, “Omnipotent Triumph”, was selected in the sculpture category from entries from 62 nations by an IOC jury with judges from five continents. Linson’s piece “Omnipotent Triumph” features a Paralympic athlete crossing the finish line in his wheelchair with his arms uplifted in a triumphant “V” for victory pose.
Coincidentally, the Paralympic Games first began the last time London hosted the Olympic Games. Following World War II, English Dr. Ludwig Guttmann organized the 1948 International Wheelchair Games to coincide with the 1948 Olympic Games in London. The 2008 Paralympic Games in Bejing involved 3,951 athletes representing 146 countries.
Martin Linson has a unique style in the representation of the human anatomy that has brought him major commissions over the years, including a sculpture of former Lindenwood University President Dennis Spellman on display at Lindenwood’s Spellman Center. Other commissions include sculptures of KMOX radio legend Robert Hyland, historical figure Daniel Boone, and the 17 foot tall fabricated bronze cattails at The Meadows Shopping Center in Lake St. Louis, Missouri. The 36-year-old artist says that Paralympians have always been amazing to him and he wanted to show them at a point of perfection - finishing and winning the race.
“I’m shocked. I never thought I would win whatsoever,” said Linson. “I knew it was something special. However, I just wanted to recognize these athletes because I felt their amazing accomplishments should come more to light.”
Linson qualified for the IOC art competition when he won the U.S. Olympic Sport and Art Contest in February of 2012. The U.S. contest was conducted by the United States Sport Academy in cooperation with the Art of the Olympians, and under the auspices of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). Linson entered the U.S. Olympic Sport and Art Contest for the second time. He finished as a runner-up in the 2008 competition.
Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, a member of the IOC’s Culture and Olympic Education Commission, served on the judging committee for the art entered into the 2012 London Olympic Sport and Art Contest. Rosandich praised Linson’s work. “We are very pleased with the outcome and the sculpture Linson did honoring Paralympians,” Dr. Rosandich said from Lausaunne, Switzerland. “This is a tremendous way for the United States to start the Olympics with another American artist winning our country’s first gold.”
The IOC’s Olympic Museum, which oversaw the international phase of the art contest, awarded $30,000 and a diploma for the first prize to Martin Linson. In addition, Linson’s “Omnipotent Triumph” will be highlighted at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and then will go on permanent display at the IOC’s museum along with the other winners.
St. Louis artist Jack Scharr, who chaired the selection committee for the U.S. Olympic Sport and Art Contest, said he thought Linson’s sculpture of the Paralympian in a wheelchair strongly captured the theme of the IOC art contest, “Sport and the Olympic Values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect.”
“With most Olympic countries competing in the event, what a wonderful thing for Linson to win first place,” said Scharr, president of Fine Art Ltd. “When ‘Omnipotent Triumph’ won the U.S. Olympic competition, we felt it had a great chance for a medal in Lausanne. The news that it took first place has everyone here overjoyed.”
Martin Linson is an adjunct art professor at Lindenwood University and The St. Louis Art Institute, and he is the owner of Linson Studios and Lighthouse Screen Printing. He has been a long-time member of the Artist Advisory Board – as well as an ardent supporter – of the Foundry Art Centre.
Commenting on Linson’s recent honor, Foundry Art Centre Executive Director Laura Helling notes, “We are thrilled for Marty and this tremendous achievement. He is an extremely talented and gifted artist, and we are so fortunate to have his expertise on our Artist Advisory Board.”
Helling continues, “Marty Linson has been an integral part of the Foundry Art Centre since we were established in 2004. As a working sculptor himself, he has helped to guide our Mission throughout the years.” She adds, “We are so proud to see Marty receive this prestigious honor from the International Olympic Committee, along with the admiration of professional artists across the globe.”
For more information about the Foundry Art Centre please contact Executive Director Laura Helling at 636-255-0270, or visit their website at www.foundryartcentre.org.