Passion for art, sport and history

research in art, sport and Olympic history

The female medallist Renée Sintenis

Olympic Art Competitions were part of the Olympic programme for 36 years in the first half of the twentieth century. According to sport history research, one of the reasons for their suspension was the participation of unknown artists. A careful analysis of the sources used by sport historians reveals that little is known about the artists. Even less is known about female artists in this context. Investigating the example of the German sculptress Renée Sintenis (1888–1965), medallist of the 1928 Olympic Art Competitions, is an attempt to address this research gap. Biographical research about the sculptress provides art historical evidence for her successful career, her impressive oeuvre and her outstanding societal position as a female artist; and, in doing so, backs up the publications by sport historians. Furthermore, the paper illustrates the circumstances under which female artists participated in the Olympic Art Competitions, evidencing that the artistic competitions had not been a topic on the agenda of the International Olympic Committee. Importantly, it also demonstrates that Pierre de Coubertin’s artistic family environment influenced his thinking about female artists in the Olympic Art Competitions.

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