A Minnesota art collector recently donated 10 serigraphs of the 1972 Munich Olympic Games by the late sport artist Leroy Neiman to the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA).
Archie Leyasmeyer, a former University of Minnesota professor, made the donation after reading a Wall Street Journal story about other Neiman artworks on public display at ASAMA, which arguably holds the largest collection of sport art in the world.
“We are very thankful to Mr. Leyasmeyer for his very generous donation to the United States Sports Academy of the Leroy Neiman serigraphs,” says Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, the Academy’s President and CEO who established the sport university’s art museum in 1984. “Neiman’s name is synonymous with sport art.”
Neiman, the United States Sports Academy’s 2007 Sport Artist of the Year, did a series of 12 paintings about the 1972 Games. Among his many accomplishments, 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 named 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.
Dr. Rosandich says the Neiman donation is special because the 1972 Summer Olympics were also an impetus for the creation of the Academy, now the largest graduate school of sport education in the world and the only freestanding school of sport education in America that is regionally accredited at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels.
A need for a national school of sport was made obvious with the United States team’s inferior performance at the 1972 Munich Olympiad, which was attributed to poor administration, lack of medical support, and unscientific coaching and training. The need for a sport institute was further underscored with the publication of the Blyth – Mueller Report in 1974. This landmark study established a solid link between the poor preparation of coaches and the number and severity of sports injuries.
Leyasmeyer says he was happy to donate the paintings to ASAMA, especially after plans for a Neiman art museum in St. Paul, Minn., were derailed. Neiman was a St. Paul, Minn., native.
“What a marvelous museum the Academy has,” he says. “That makes the donation even more meaningful for us.”