Batavia To Re-Create Famous Scene From Saturday Evening Post
This coming Saturday (Jan. 6, 2018), Batavia residents — and anyone who wants to participate, really — have a chance to re-create the famous ice-skating scene that graced the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, circa 1957.
“This iconic pond in Batavia was featured in a painting by John Falter 60 year ago,” said Chris Cudworth, communications coordinator for the city of Batavia. “With this cold weather, we’re relatively assured the ice will be thick enough to conduct this scheduled event and celebrate a high-profile moment in Batavia’s history.”
The Batavia Park District is promoting the event on its Facebook page.
“Come enjoy open skating on the pond as the 1950s Batavians did, while enjoying live entertainment, fire pits (s’mores anyone?) and the chance to warm up next to the original painting in the Depot Museum. Ice skate rental is available, while supplies last,” the Facebook page post says.
The open skating is scheduled for noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Depot Pond, weather permitting.
History of the Mural
John Falter’s “Fox River Ice-Skating” appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post (Jan. 11,1958), and was inspired by his visits to Batavia.
The painting represents a group of skaters enjoying the winter sport on the Fox River bordering the stone building of the old Appleton Manufacturing Company.
In The Saturday Evening Post, Falter declared “that by the time he had finished painting all those portraits he had a sore wrist.”
The original painting was purchased from the artist in 1962 by the Batavia Woman’s Club.
It was displayed for many years in the Batavia Civic Center (327 West Wilson St.), which once served as the meeting place for the Batavia Woman’s Club, and was later placed on indefinite loan to the Batavia Depot Museum, where it is now on display.
In 2006, a larger-than-life reproduction of the painting was commissioned by the Batavia Public Library, with permission from the Batavia Woman’s Club. The 80 inch by 66 inch mural on canvas is on permanent display at the Batavia Public Library.
Prints and note cards featuring this image are available for sale from the Batavia Woman’s Club at the Batavia Depot Museum.
About The Artist
John Philip Falter was born on Feb. 28, 1910, in Plattsmouth, NE, spent his formative years in Falls City, NE, lived and worked from New York to California, and died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 22 May 1982.
Falter is known primarily for his 128 cover illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post.
Falter painted portraits, western scenes, advertising illustrations, scenes of American history, and more than 300 World War II recruiting posters.
What he was striving for, said Falter in 1952, was a “picture with reader-time in it. I want to put down on canvas a piece of America, a stage set, a framework for the imagination to travel around in.”
- Daily Herald: Batavia Recalls Saturday Evening Post Cover of Town