Oct 21, 2021 - Sale 2583

Sale 2583 - Lot 43

Estimate: $ 1,400 - $ 1,800
An album documenting the Sokol Slet XI in Prague.

This album with 50 photographs documenting the massive and exuberant all-age gymnastics festival in modernist imagery that reflects the aesthetics of the period. Close up images show small groups of men, women, and children in various choreographed formations and mid-exercise, others are bird's-eye views of a stadium filled with thousands, all executing movements in perfect synchronization. Silver prints, the images measuring approximately 5 1/4x7 inches (14x17.8 cm.), and the reverse, cornered to black pages, each with a hand stamp on verso; with the original interleafing spider-webbed glassine. Small folio, pictorial cover with the date; tie binding. 1948

Additional Details

The Sokol movement is an all-age gymnastics organization first founded in Prague in the Czech region of Austria-Hungary in 1862. It was based upon the principle of "a strong mind in a sound body." The Sokol, through lectures, discussions, and group outings provided physical, moral, and intellectual training for the nation, including men of all ages and classes, and eventually women. The Sokol played an important part in the development of Czech nationalism and patriotism, which found expression in articles published in the Sokol journal, lectures held in the Sokol libraries, and theatrical performances at the gymnastic mass festivals called slets.

This mass festival was held in June 1948, the first to be held since 1938 and the last to be for some time after the Communists assumed leadership earlier that year. The Czech women's gymnastic team went on to win the gold medal at the London Olympics later that summer.