Artist Donates Original Painting of First Televised Olympics to American Sport Art Museum & Archives

Bob Zimlich gift edited IMG_2690

Local artist Robert Lord Zimlich, right, recently presented to the United States Sports Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA) an original life-sized assemblage representing the first televised broadcasting of the Olympic Games. Accepting is Academy President and CEO Dr. T.J. Rosandich.

DAPHNE, Ala. – Local artist Robert Lord Zimlich recently donated an original painting, “First Televised Olympics,” to the United States Sports Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA).

Zimlich presented the life-size assemblage to Academy President and CEO Dr. T.J. Rosandich.

Zimlich said the painting is one in his latest in a series representing firsts in sports history, from Sumerian cave art of boxing to the present. The 1936 Berlin Olympic Games were the first in history to be televised, as the Nazi government employed a closed circuit television system to broadcast the games as a propaganda tool to large viewing halls in Berlin and other locations, where tens of thousands viewed on small television screens.  Use of the new communications medium, whose development had been subsidized by the government, was also intended to highlight Germany’s sophisticated technology.

In the assemblage, Zimlich depicts the lighting of the Olympic torch on a facsimile of an actual-size vintage television set of the type used in the 1936 broadcast.  Featuring an eight-by-eight-inch screen, the 3-D depiction of the television involves six individually stretched canvases painted to reflect the appropriate wood and details accurate right down to the speaker and control knobs, which are identified with Germany text.  The television stands approximately three feet high by three feet wide.  To ensure accuracy, Zimlich contacted Loewe Technologies GmbH in Germany, who he said was “kind enough to provide me with a photo and drawing of that historic Loewe AG. television.”

Ironically, 1936 was the Summer Olympics when Nazi Germany’s claims of Aryan supremacy backfired as African-American Jesse Owens bested Germany’s top athletes to win four gold medals. Owens, an Alabama native, achieved international fame by winning the 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump, and 4 × 100 meter relay. He was the most successful athlete at the games.

“Adolph Hitler, wanting to use the 1936 Berlin Olympics as a propaganda tool, placed the television viewing stations in Berlin and around Germany for full coverage,” Zimlich said.

“You can bet they didn’t televise any of Jesse Owens’s events. He defied everything that Hitler and his Aryan Nation stood for and when he was successful, they had mud on their face.”

Zimlich’s current donation is part of a series he is doing on “firsts” in sports, media and popular culture.  Works completed or in progress include the postage stamp of Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in professional baseball; the first sports byline in a newspaper; the first telegraph transmission; and the first cave drawings.

In addition to the Olympic television, Zimlich also donated to ASAMA two large prints by New York City artist TAFA depicting full boxing and basketball arenas.  TAFA is the 2009 ASAMA Sport Artist of the Year, Painter. Zimlich also donated two prints and one original by Harry Weber and depicting people in military service.  Weber, of St. Louis, Mo., was the ASAMA 2010 Sport Artist of the Year, Sculptor.

Zimlich said his gifts were the result of a long-time association with ASAMA, which he called “arguably the largest sport art museum in the world, thanks to the vision of Academy Founding President Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich.”

“People of this area who have not seen this museum have really been missing out, and I would recommend that everyone visit.  This art truly represents sports history. It was also a brilliant move creating the Sport Artist of the Year Award, and each year the competition for that award gets tougher.”

Growing up in his family’s florist business in Mobile, Zimlich credits his father, Bob Zimlich, with teaching him art composition.

“He had me making dried arrangements by time I was 10 years old.”

Zimlich went on to study at the Atlanta College of Art and served as president and a member of the Board of Directors of Cathedral Square Art Gallery in Mobile, Ala.  As a member of the Academy’s Art committee (1999-present) and former Art Curator (2005-2013), Zimlich worked to help support key functions of ASAMA, including participating in the selection of the Sport Artists of the Year.

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.

Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of more than 1,800 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to www.asama.org.

The Academy is based in Daphne, Ala.  For more information, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.

Academy Sport Artist Charles Billich Meets with Pope, Will Paint Vatican Cityscape

Billich with Pope Francis

United States Sports Academy Sport Artist of the Year (1999, 2013) Charles Billich recently met Pope Francis during a visit to the Vatican City. Billich was commissioned to paint one of his famous cityscape pieces of the Vatican City.

DAPHNE, Ala. – Two-time United States Sports Academy Sport Artist of the Year and world-renowned contemporary surrealist painter Charles Billich recently had an audience with Pope Francis and was commissioned to paint one of his famous cityscapes in honor of the Vatican City.

Billich, one of the most famous and prolific living Australian painters, was named the Academy’s Sport Artist of the Year in 2013 and 1999, joining renowned painter Ernie Barnes as the only two artists to win the award twice. Born in Croatia, Billich now resides in Sydney, Australia.

“I am humbled that the Pope is going to guide me through this journey of painting the Vatican,” Billich told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph. “Having his blessing makes the painting so much more meaningful.” Continue reading

Sergey Eylanbekov Sculptures to Serve as Centerpiece of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial

Eylanbekov sculpting Eisenhower

Sculptor Sergey Eylanbekov working on clay model of Gen. Dwight David Eisenhower. Images and sculpture courtesy of Sergey Eylanbekov

United States Sports Academy 2004 Sport Artist of the Year and 2004 International Olympic Committee (IOC) Sport Art Competition winner Sergey Eylanbekov is busy sculpting masterworks for the Gen. Dwight David Eisenhower Memorial that will be located near the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The world got its first glimpses of the sculptures recently in “GENERAL’ LY SPEAKING: Dispatches from the Eisenhower Memorial Commission.”  A 6 June 2018 edition of the publication marking the 74th Anniversary of D-Day provided images of the remarkable sculptures in various stages of completion.

Architect Frank Gehry’s design for the Eisenhower Memorial was developed in collaboration with a creative team of artists and engineers.   The Eisenhower Memorial Commission, created by Congress, is overseeing creation of the project. Continue reading

Academy Invites Public to See Olympic Art, Memorabilia at American Sport Art Museum & Archives

Larsen - Borzov, The Sprinter

“Borzov the Sprinter” is one of nine Bruce Larsen sculptures featured on the grounds of the American Sport Art Museum & Archives at the United States Sports Academy. The sculpture represents Ukrainian sprinter Valeriy Borzov, an Olympic gold medalist and former president of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine.

DAPHNE, Ala. – As the world celebrates Olympic Day on 23 June, the United States Sports Academy invites the public the week before to visit its American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA), home to a large collection of Olympic memorabilia and art from world renowned painters, sculptors and mixed media artists.

Olympic Day is a worldwide annual celebration in recognition of the Modern Olympic Games. More than 160 countries take part in Olympic Day, which was created in 1948 to commemorate the birth of the Modern Olympic Games.  It focuses on the Olympic values and ideals such as fair play, perseverance, respect, and sportsmanship. In the U.S., Olympic Day events range from small gatherings to large, city-wide events.

While ASAMA is not open on weekends, the Academy invites the public to visit the museum from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day of the week prior to Olympic Day on Saturday, 23 June. Continue reading

Academy Trustee, Art Committee Member Selected for International Niagara Falls Exhibit

McCollough Niagara falls

Susan N. McCollough has been selected for a prestigious international art exhibition at Niagara Falls to emphasize the importance of global access to clean drinking water. McCollough’s works in the exhibit are two abstract oil paintings entitled “Beneath, the Ocean Whispers,” (top), and “Beneath Rays of Whispers … Silence.”

DAPHNE, Ala – A United States Sports Academy trustee and a member of the Academy’s Art Committee have both been selected for a prestigious international art exhibition at Niagara Falls to emphasize the importance of global access to clean drinking water.

Susan N. McCollough and B’Beth Weldon are among 37 artists selected from 18 countries for the exhibit “Water for Life,” which runs through 9 September at the Niagara Falls History Museum in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

Organizers say “Water for Life” is designed to encourage visitors to reflect on the abundance of fresh water that the world famous Niagara Falls puts on display to sensitize audiences to the global inequalities of the world’s access to clean water. “Water for Life” examines the influence and power of water through painting, photography, digital art, sculpture, and installations.

The water theme was inspired and supported by muralist Rina Lazo, who worked with the late famous Mexican painter Diego Rivera on the creation of an underwater indoor mural in 1951 to commemorate the completion of a major component of the central water system in Mexico City. Continue reading

Gift Sculpture of Famous Caddie Now Greets Visitors to American Sport Art Museum & Archives

Dr TJ and McCollough with Caddie Sculpture

United States Sports Academy President and CEO Dr. T.J. Rosandich and Susan N. McCollough, Academy trustee and Emerita member of the Academy’s Art Committee, admire the sculpture “Keep Yer Eye on the Ball” that was recently added to American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA). Jupiter, Fla., real estate professional Cary Lichtenstein donated the sculpture by Clyde Ross Morgan that commemorates the 1913 U.S. Open when 10-year-old caddie Eddie Lowery inspired amateur golfer Francis Ouimet to win the prestigious golf tournament over highly favored professionals of the day.

DAPHNE, Ala. – A life-sized sculpture of one of the most famous caddies in golf history now greets visitors to the United States Sports Academy thanks to a recent donation to the institution’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA).

Donated to ASAMA by Jupiter, Fla., real estate professional, golfer and artist Cary Lichtenstein and sculpted by renowned artist Clyde Ross Morgan, the bronze caddie – titled “Keep Yer Eye on the Ball” – was inspired by a famous incident at the 1913 U.S. Open in Brookline, Mass.  That was when the underdog 20-year-old amateur golfer Francis Ouimet was victorious over golf’s greats of the day after being encouraged by his 10-year-old caddie, Eddie Lowery, to “be sure to keep your eye on the ball.”

Ouimet won the U.S. Open title that year in a playoff against heavily favored professionals Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, the reigning British Open champion.  Ouimet was the first amateur to win the U.S. Open, a rare feat achieved by only five amateurs in history, the last occurring in 1933. Continue reading

Mobile Resident Donates LeRoy Neiman Olympic Art Posters to American Sport Art Museum & Archives

Harry Fisher Neiman Gift 24 May

Mobile, Ala., resident Harry R. Fisher, left, recently donated a set of three Olympic art posters by artist LeRoy Neiman to United States Sports Academy President and CEO Dr. T.J. Rosandich, right, at the American Sport Art Museum & Archives.

DAPHNE, Ala. – The United States Sports Academy recently received a donation of three LeRoy Neiman Olympic art posters to its American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA), expanding one of the museum’s most popular collections among visitors.

The posters, which feature the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games, were donated to ASAMA by Mobile, Ala., resident Harry R. Fisher. The posters feature swimming and gymnastics and were distributed by Fisher’s former employer, ARAMARK, to commemorate the 1988 Summer Olympic Games, which were hosted in Seoul, South Korea.

“I had this wonderful LeRoy Neiman art hanging in my house for many years and I have enjoyed it greatly,” Fisher said. “But now it is time for visitors to the American Sport Art Museum and Archives to enjoy it as much as I have.” Continue reading

WKRG Ch. 5 Features United States Sports Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA)

The United States Sports Academy’s contributions to sport education and sport art recently were featured on two segments on Mobile, Alabama’s WKRG-TV Ch. 5. Sports anchor Randy Patrick visited the campus to report on the Academy’s online sport education programs and its long-time contribution to sport education in the U.S. and around the world. His second feature focused on the public service the Academy provides through America’s largest sport art museum, the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA).

Click here for the stories: 
Academy sport education (ran on 2 May 2018): https://youtu.be/1s9DFybhTwc
ASAMA (ran on 6 May 2018): https://youtu.be/_6-R9h0FYko

Sport Artist Rick Rush Collector Donates Signed Prints to Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives

Art Committee with Rick Rush art

United States Sports Academy Founding President and Art Committee member Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, Academy Trustee and Art Committee member Emerita Susan McCollough (center) and Academy Art Committee Chair Nancy Raia admire selections from the Rick Rush collection at the American Sport Art Museum & Archives in Daphne, Ala.

DAPHNE, Ala. – Two collectors of the work of world renowned sport artist and United States Sports Academy 2011 Sport Artist of the Year Rick Rush recently donated a large collection of his signed serigraphs to the collection of the Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA).

Michael and Donna McIntyre of Destin, Fla., recently donated 46 Rick Rush signed prints to ASAMA, where many will be put on display along with the Academy’s already large collection of the artist’s works.   Rush, known as “America’s Sport Artist,” has gained a worldwide following for his colorful paintings that depict a variety of sports. Continue reading

Fairhope Resident Donates Autographed LeRoy Neiman Tiger Print to American Sport Art Museum and Archives

LeRoy Neiman art gift

Fairhope resident Jeff Hosterman, left, recently donated an autographed print, “Portrait of a Tiger,” by LeRoy Neiman, famed sport artist and 2007 United States Sports Academy Sport Artist of the Year, to the Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA). Receiving is Academy President and CEO Dr. T.J. Rosandich.

DAPHNE, Ala. – A Fairhope resident has donated an autographed tiger print by famed sport artist LeRoy Neiman to the United States Sports Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA).

Jeff Hosterman donated “Portrait of a Tiger” to the Academy, which honored Neiman with its 2007 Sport Artist of the Year Award. Neiman, credited by many as the inventor of contemporary sport art, died in 2012 at the age of 91. ASAMA has several of his works on display.

Hosterman recently moved to Fairhope after retiring from the electronic banking industry in Atlanta. He said a visit to ASAMA as a new resident in the community inspired him to make the gift.

“The American Sport Art Museum and Archives is a beautiful place,” he said.

“The museum is the right place for this art, not at my home, so people can enjoy it with the rest of the great art here.”

“Portrait of a Tiger” depicts a colorful tiger staring off the canvas and stalking in the grass, featuring bright oranges, yellows and greens. The donor noted that the tiger is the mascot of his alma mater, Princeton University. He said some might associate the gift with the Auburn University mascot, which would complement another of the more popular Neiman prints at ASAMA – an image of legendary University of Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.

Neiman’s other works on display at ASAMA include a collection of watercolor prints representing numerous sports in the 1972 Munich Olympics, as well as with images of boxing, hockey, fencing and many others.

Neiman, a colorful and entertaining artist instantly recognized by his handlebar mustache, became widely known with his appearances on live television painting athletes at the very moments that they were competing in the Olympics. He painted brilliantly colored, stunningly energetic images of the sports world, capturing its motion and emotion in his brushstrokes.

Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, who founded ASAMA in 1984, praised Neiman for his ability to portray sport action quickly through a variety of mediums.

“LeRoy Neiman’s name is synonymous with sport art,” Dr. Rosandich said. “When anyone would talk about sport art, they would inevitably mention his name. No one contributed more to sport art than he did with his presence on TV turning out great art. He was just as colorful as his paintings.”

Neiman was the official artist at five Olympiads, including creating on-the-spot images on live television during the 1972 Summer Games in Munich and the 1976 Games in Montreal. Neiman was the official artist of the Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid in 1980 and in Sarajevo in 1984, as well as the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984.

Neiman found a niche in sport art that was untouched and pioneered the genre with great enthusiasm.

“For an artist, watching Joe Namath throw a football or Willie Mays hit a baseball is an experience far more overpowering than painting a beautiful woman or leading political figure,” Neiman once said. “Concentrating on sports has helped me because I couldn’t refer back to past movements. There hasn’t been any sports art to speak of. I’ve had the field pretty much to myself.”

His role in pop culture spanned for decades, creating works for Playboy magazine since its inception in 1954. The series “Man at His Leisure” appeared in the magazine for 15 years, and included his impressions of events, such as the Grand Prix in Monaco, the Beatles in London and the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

Neiman’s powerful imagery of boxing, especially of Muhammad Ali, earned him induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2007. His paintings and sketches of Ali during 15 years of the prizefighter’s boxing career permanently reside at the LeRoy Neiman Gallery at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Ky. He was so closely identified with the world of boxing that actor/director Sylvester Stallone tapped Neiman to appear in four of his “Rocky” movies.

The St. Paul, Minn., native’s works are in many private and public museums, including the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., which Neiman selected to house his archives.

Founded in 1984 and located on the Academy campus, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of more than 1,800 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to www.asama.org.

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.

The Academy is based in Daphne, Ala.  For more information, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.