Alexander Calder

Untitled (maquette), 1972
Sheet metal and paint
34 1/4 x 29 15/16 x 26 inches  (87 x 76 x 66 cm)
© 2013 Calder Foundation, New York/Artists Right Society (ARS), New York

Alexander Calder Listed Exhibitions (96 Kb)
Alexander Calder Bibliography (98 Kb)

Alexander Calder's invention of the mobile (a term that Marcel Duchamp coined to describe these new kinetic sculptures) resonated with early Conceptual and Constructivist art as well as the language of early abstract painting. Flat, abstract shapes made in steel, boldly painted in a restricted primary palette, black or white, hang in perfect balance from wires. While the latent energy and dynamism of the mobiles remained of primary interest to Calder throughout his life, he also created important standing sculptures, which Jean Arp named "stabiles" to distinguish them from their ethereal kinetic counterparts. These works reject the weight and solidity of sculptural mass, yet displace space in a three-dimensional manner while remaining linear, open, planar, and suggestive of motion.

Alexander Calder (b. 1898, Lawnton, PA; d. 1976, New York, NY) attended the Stevens Institute of Technology and Art Students League. His work is in public and private collections worldwide, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Calder's public commissions are on view in cities all over the world and his work has been the subject of hundreds of museum exhibitions, including “Alexander Calder: 1898–1976,” National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (1998, traveled to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art); “Calder: Gravity and Grace,” Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (2003, traveled to Reina Sofia, Madrid); “The Surreal Calder,” The Menil Collection, Houston (2005, traveled to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts through 2006); “Calder Jewelry,” Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach (2008, traveled to Philadelphia Museum; Metropolitan Museum, New York; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; San Diego Museum of Art; and the Grand Rapids Art Museum); “Alexander Calder: The Paris Years, 1926–1933,” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2008, traveled to the Centre Pompidou, Paris and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto); “Calder: Sculptor of Air,” Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome (2009–10); “Alexander Calder: A Balancing Act,” Seattle Art Museum (2009–10); “Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2010, traveled to Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas; and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC); “Calder’s Portraits: A New Language,” National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. (2011); and “Calder,” Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2013). “Calder Gallery II” is on view at the Fondation Beyeler, Riehen, Switzerland through June 2014.