Signed, on rear self base: A.St.L. Eberle.;Marked, on rear self base: ROMAN BRONZE WORKS NY
Abastenia St. Leger Eberle frequently modeled sculptures that depict the everyday lives of immigrants in New York’s Lower East Side. She was particularly drawn to female subjects, especially young girls at play. In Hurdy Gurdy, she rejected the static forms and grand subjects popular among a previous generation of sculptors and created a lively, snapshot-like sculpture of a child dancing to a “hurdy gurdy”—a term often applied to organ grinders who plied the city’s streets. We do not know whether she dances as a participant in the performance or as a part of a spontaneous audience response, but her smile and exuberant skip make clear her pleasure. Her clothing and comportment, however, suggest her modest circumstances. She wears laceless open shoes, oversized stockings that slip down her legs, and a simple dress, which, lacking petticoats, ties, or other adornments, enables her body to move freely. Progressive in her social and political views, Eberle sought to engender empathy, rather than pity, for her immigrant subjects, many of whom were her neighbors when she chose to live in the Lower East Side.
From the 2019 exhibition American Art, Colonial to Modern, curated by Barbara J. MacAdam, Jonathan L. Cohen Curator of American Art
American Art, Colonial to Modern, Israel Sack Gallery and Rush Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 26, 2019-September 12, 2021.
Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, October 2, 2014.
William Doyle’ Galleries, Inc., New York, November 2, 2011, lot 219; sold to Conner-Rosenkranz, LLC (dealers), New York, New York; sold to present collection, 2014.
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