Bronze Ages | Visual Art | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
Pin It
Favorite

Bronze Ages 

click to enlarge Abastenia St. Leger Eberle’s _Girl Skating_, from “Cast Images: American Bronze Sculpture from the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” at the New York State Museum.
  • Abastenia St. Leger Eberle’s _Girl Skating_, from “Cast Images: American Bronze Sculpture from the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” at the New York State Museum.

Bronze is not a material much found in contemporary art. A favorite of the ancient Chinese, Greeks, and Romans, and a mainstay of the Renaissance, bronze was common in casting sculptures until the early 20th century. But the copper-tin alloy was too permanent, too stable, too heroic to express the modernist angst of an age that suffered two World Wars in less than 50 years. Today, the earnestness of bronze seems almost alien—was there ever really a time when artists could express such nobleness without a trace of irony?
The answer is yes, and not that long ago, as witnessed by “Cast Images,” the current exhibit of American bronze sculpture at the New York State Museum in Albany. The exhibit, the latest installment of the museum’s “Great Art Series,” features artworks from the end of the 19th century until around World War I, many by artists whose names do not resonate with fame. The sculpture above, Girl Skating (1906), is by Abastenia St. Leger Eberle, who came to New York from Iowa, by way of Ohio and Puerto Rico, to study at the Art Students League from 1899 to 1902. From there, she began a series of sculptures of poor children on the Lower East Side. Working “with the eye of a photojournalist and without sentimentality,” to quote an Internet citation, Eberle was an early social realist, as evidenced in this girl in her ragged stockings and dress, who seems caught between ecstasy and abandon as she flies along on only one rollerskate. To modern viewers, though, the realism of the sculpture goes beyond the immigrant slums of old New York, to its uncanny similarity with the famous photograph from the Vietnam War of the naked girl fleeing a napalm attack. The way the two images rhyme is pure coincidence, of course, and yet one can’t help but marvel at how the human condition echoes through time.

“Cast Images: American Bronze Sculpture from the Metropolitan Museum of Art” continues at the New York State Museum through February 24, 2008. (518) 474-5877; www.nysm.nysed.gov.

Speaking of...

  • Wilderstein Outdoor Sculpture Biennial
  • Wilderstein Outdoor Sculpture Biennial

    The Wilderstein Outdoor Sculpture Biennial returns with 18 new installations.
    • Jul 2, 2017
  • Gardiner Art Crawl
  • Gardiner Art Crawl

    The crawl combines three Gardiner events over the course of the weekend of June 3 and June 4.
    • Jun 1, 2017
  • MAYfest
  • MAYfest

    MAYfest runs May 26 through May 28 at Surprise Lake Camp in Cold Spring.
    • May 1, 2017
  • More »
Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
Woodstock Artist Ecstatic Dance Camp @ MountainView Studio

Woodstock Artist Ecstatic Dance Camp

Fri., July 21, 6 p.m. — Ecstatic dance/live music/sound healing/improv theatre/earth dance sweat lodge/Ajna yoga/ meditation/chanting with Tibetan...

View all of today's events

Latest in Visual Art

Related to Visual Art

More by Timothy Cahill

  • Sanam

    The idea for the painting _Sanam_ came to Troy-based artist Jon Gernon, as he puts it, in a “flash” when he saw a family friend wearing a T-shirt she’d made based on the “Coexist” bumper sticker.
    • Nov 30, 2007
  • December's Featured Contributors

    Joseph Dalton, William Doiron, Michael Fallarino, and Nina Shengold contribute to December's issue.
    • Nov 30, 2007
  • Local Luminary: Susan Holland

    As executive director of Historic Albany Foundation, Holland has dedicated herself to the preservation of Albany’s neighborhoods.
    • Nov 30, 2007
  • More »

Hudson Valley Tweets