Girl Dancing, 1897; this cast, ca. 1906
Bessie Potter Vonnoh (American, 1872–1955)
Bronze; 14 x 12 x 8 in. (35.6 x 30.5 x 20.3 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1906 (06.305)
In her statuettes of solitary female figures, Vonnoh explored the rhythm of movement and the play of drapery over form. One of her most esteemed works, Girl Dancing presents a fashionable young woman in a high-waisted gown. She steps forward in a bowing posture, pointing her right foot and sweeping her skirt back with her left hand. This dancer may possibly be part of a quadrille, a dance popular in the nineteenth century that was performed by couples in a square formation. The statuette is in keeping with the genteel turn-of-the-century expectation that well-bred women occupy themselves by reading, playing music, or dancing.