A vintage figure skating demo full of B+W mountain beauty
Who else is raring to refresh … everything now that 2020 is in the rearview? If your walls could use a little livening up, our new Vintage Edition is your ice breaker. Part 20s-era technical figure skating instructional, part testament to athletic grace, and part monochrome vision of a mountainous winter wonderland, Free Skating Field Combination is something very special—that’s still well-suited to almost any art collection. (We can thank the timeless beauty of black & white photographs for that versatility.) Let’s take a spin around the rink.
We plucked Free Skating Field Combination from the pages of a 1921 book by Swedish figure skater, champion athlete, and medalist Bror Meyer. Figure skating made its Olympic debut in 1908 at the summer games in London. It’s no surprise that the following decade saw a sharp increase in interest in the sport, internationally and spanning all skill levels. Meyer picked up on this newfound enthusiasm and, a seasoned skating teacher himself, set his mind to assembling an accessible visual guide to the sport, covering both basic and advanced techniques. After much consideration, he decided it best to accompany his explanations and illustrate the intricacies of his artful movements through a series of sequential photographs taken via cinematograph—an early motion picture film camera. Nestled in snow-covered landscapes, the images include numbered steps to identify precise body movements through different combinations.
Free Skating Field Combination is just one of the many instructional diagrams included in Skating with Bror Meyer. As Bror explains in the book, “Free Skating should consist of movements and combinations which are original and characteristic of the skater's individuality, particularly in competition work.” He goes on to say, “in my opinion the skater must impress upon his mind that ‘grace’ is the highest essential; difficult movements and figures must only be incorporated after considerable practice,” and follows with examples he insists are “given only as an aid to development and should not merely be copied.” He then shows various free skating combinations of turns, jumps, etc., all of which must always be skated “in such a manner that the spectator gets a clear understanding of the design. Long strokes, alternating with quick turns and clean foot-work, should be combined with beautiful positions often changed, without too much posing, in order to produce a great and pleasing variety.”
The “pleasing variety” this print brings to an art collection may not have been what Meyer had in mind, but the aesthetic appeal of the unexpected endures whether we’re talking figure skating sequences or framed finds. Free Skating Field Combination is sure to be unlike anything else on your walls, falling somewhere between athleticism, artistry, and history, with a slice of black & white scenery to boot. Just the unpredictable accent your new year ordered!
With art for everyone,