Abestenia Saint Leger Eberle (American, 1878–1942)
13 x 11 1/4 x 6 1/4 in. (33 x 28.6 x 15.9 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1909 (09.57)
Girl Skating is a sympathetic and spirited portrayal of a child hurtling forward on just one roller skate. This young girl—self-sufficient and proud—utters an excited cry, balancing herself with outstretched arms against the wind that sweeps back her hair and presses her ragged dress against her body. The statuette reveals Eberle as an artist with a social conscience who saw it as her mission to serve as "the specialized eye of society" through her sculptures of the urban poor, especially those on New York's Lower East Side. As she explained: "The children of the East Side play without restraint; their griefs and their joys are expressed with absolute abandon. . . . They are real—real as they can be. They express life."