Alexander Calder, Occident, 1975, gouache and ink on paper, 29 × 43 inches (73.6 × 109.2 cm) © 2014 Calder Foundation, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
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 was born in 1898 in, Lawnton, Pennsylvania, and died in 1976 in New York. He received his B.S. in 1919 from Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken. From 1923 to 1925, Calder attended the Art Students League, New York, and in 1926, he attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris. Calder's public commissions are on view in cities all over the world and his work has been the subject of numerous museum exhibitions, including the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (1998, traveled to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California); The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (1998–99); Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford (2000); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2000); Iwaki City Art Museum, Japan (2000, traveled to The Museum of Modern Art, Japan; Hokkaido Obihiro Museum of Art, Japan; The Museum of Art, Japan; Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum, Japan; Nagoya City Art Museum, Japan); Storm King Art Center, New York (2001–03); Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (2003, traveled to Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, through 2004); Foundation Beyeler, Switzerland (2004, traveled to Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., through 2005); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California (2013); Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (2014); Fondation Beyeler, Basel (2014); Museo Jumex, Mexico City (2015); and Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Saint Louis (2015).