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Hidden Sparts

When thinking of a name for the company I envisioned to bring arts and sports more together, one of the names I thought of first was SPARTS. Sports + Arts = Sparts. Simple mathematics! But that name was already taken in my hometown of Amsterdam it turned out!

Sparts - art in sports was a gallery which started in 1985, which specialised 'sportart, the art which portrays the athlete in and with his surroundings'. I contacted Toine, the owner, which resulted in a meeting at his apartment full of original sportart works in Amsterdam. There we talked a lot about how he got started, what he did the last 30 years and about his vision on the subject of sportart. And he also gave me some good advice and pointers for my own project and website.

Toine quit with the physical gallery about five years ago, because of retirement, but he still has his website where you can buy the remaining original artworks, lithographies, posters and other works. You can search on sport or artist. Toine admits his website is old now, but it still works, and he was one of the first with an online art shop in 1999!​

But the most thrilling part of the meeting was going into his garage underneath his house. Here, the 1000 works he still has left from the 30 years of Sparts, are stored. Yesterday we went through all the works for a couple of hours. I already saw a lot of them on the Sparts website, but as a sportart lover my heart was pumping seeing all these hidden treasures in real life. Having works by artists like Ortho Owen (featured on the site) and dutch artists Rob Aerdts, Angelique van de Born and Jan van Diemen in my hands was truly thrilling.

I couldn't hide my enthusiasm, so I just had to buy some works. The first one I bought was a lithography of a icehockey player by Ortho Owen. Canadian born, he came to Holland as a professional hockey player, but eventually stayed here for love and to make more art. His color use and style are captivating and therefore I'm very happy I got one of his works at home now!

The other work I bought is part of a very special collection of silk screen prints made specifically by Sparts. At one point the possibility of the Summer Olympics in Amsterdam in 1992 was real. Eventually the games went to Barcelona, but in advance Toine already ordered artist Rob Aerdts to make some work, so they could print them onto limited edition silk screen prints with the olympic logo and the city of Amsterdam to promote the games. They made six different screen prints, which are the collector items in my opinion! He did not want to part with these, but luckily for me he had one double! Demarage, painted in 1986, signed, with the olympic logo, the three crosses of Amsterdam, and 1992, now is part of my own starting collection. The smile on my face is not going away soon!

Right now Sparts is only the 1000 works still left in the garage and the online shop on the website. Toine wants to start enjoying his pension and part with the collection, the name and website. So if somebody is interested in buying all of the works left, be sure to contact him! At the very least go take a look at his online shop and see if there is something you are interested in. If so, also take a trip to his home, because if you love sportart it's worth a trip for his stories alone!

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