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John Wijga one of the designers of the 1928 Olympiad posterJohn Wijga, was a dutch painter and designer who was part of the Dutch modernism movement in the 1920’s. Wijga was one of the designers of the 1928 Olympiad poster seen here. The 1928 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the IX Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1928 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Amsterdam had bid for the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games, but had to give way to war-victim Antwerp, Belgium, and Pierre de Coubertin’s Paris, respectively. The only other candidate city for the 1928 Games was Los Angeles, which would host the Olympics four years later.Two of them more interesting highlights of the ’28 Olympics were the Olympic Flame was lit for the first time and Johnny Weissmuller, who later appeared in several Tarzan movies, won two gold medals in swimming.

poster design by John Wijga

poster design b y Wijga

In the early 1920’s a group of architects and artists, influenced by some of the ideas of DaDa, formed a movement called de Stijl (Dutch for The Style). Theirs was a utopian philosophical approach to aesthetics, centered in a publication called de Stijl, which presented their ideas and designs. The founder of the publication and leader of the group was Theo van Doesburg, an architect. Other important participants were Gerrit Rietveld and Piet Mondrian.

The philosophy was based on functionalism, with a severe and doctrinaire insistence on the rectilinearity of the planes, which seem to slide across one another like sliding panels. All surface decoration except color was to be eliminated, and only pure primary hues, plus black and white were to be allowed.