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The Alexander Calder Foundation

Art Resource is pleased to announce that it has been chosen to represent the photographic rights interests of The Archive of the Estate of Alexander Calder. This collection contains key works from Calder’s lengthy and industrious career, including sculptures (such as mobiles, stabiles, standing mobiles, and wire sculptures), and monumental outdoor works, as well as oil paintings, works on paper, toys, pieces of jewelry, and household objects.

Alexander "Sandy" Calder was born into a family of renowned artists who encouraged him to create from a very young age. As a boy, he had his own workshop where he made toys for himself and his sister. He received a degree in mechanical engineering in 1919 but soon after decided to pursue a career as an artist. Calder attended classes at the Art Students League in New York from 1923 to 1926, supporting himself by working as an illustrator.

In 1926 Calder arrived in Paris where he developed his Cirque Calder, a work of performance art employing small-scale circus figures he had sculpted from wire, wood, cloth, and other materials. Through these elaborate performances, Calder met members of the Parisian avant-garde. At the same time, Calder sculpted three-dimensional figurative works using continuous lengths of wire, which critics described as drawings in space. He explored ways to sculpt volume without mass and to captured the essence of his subject through an economy of line and articulated movement. Calder's wire works became increasingly gestural. This direction yielded his first purely abstract sculptures by the end of 1930.

After translating drawing into three dimensions, Calder envisioned putting paintings into motion. He developed “mobiles”, constructions of abstract shapes that can respond to air currents, thus shifting and changing the composition. He also created "stabiles," static sculptures that suggest volume in multiple flat planes, as well as standing mobiles, in which a mobile is balanced on top of a stabile. Calder furthered his work by creating works on a monumental scale. His later objects - huge sculptures of arching lines and graceful abstract shapes - inhabit public plazas worldwide. His inventions redefined certain basic principles of sculpture and have established him as the most innovative sculptor of the twentieth century.


Alexander Calder,

Peacock, 1941.

Sheet metal, wire, and paint, 93.5 x 126 cm.

Calder Foundation, New York