Alexander Calder

1898 - 1976 · United States

Artist biography

Alexander Calder was a renowned American artist, to whom the invention of the mobile is often attributed. He developed a ground-breaking sculpting technique, by bending and twisting wires, thus creating his illustrious “drawings in space”.

Calder was born in 1898, in a family of rich artistic heritage - his father was the sculptor Alexander Stirling Calder, his mother the painter Nanette Calder, and his grandfather, Alexander Milne Calder, was also a sculptor. Calder first studied mechanical engineering and graduated in 1919, but after working several jobs, he irrevocably decided to follow in his parent’s footsteps and enrolled in 1923 at the Art Students League in New York City. In 1926, he moved to Paris to delve deeper into his art studies and there was introduced to the European avant-garde. Calder was noticed by such prominent figures as Marcel Duchamp and Fernand Léger, among others. Duchamp is the one who first used the term “mobile” to describe Calder’s sculptures, translating to both “moving” and “in motion” in French, after visiting his studio in 1931.

Calder was always carrying wire and pliers, his preferred medium for “sketching”. His mobiles mostly involved the use of industrial materials and vivid colours, moulded into abstract and poetic shapes, gracefully hanging in the most flawlessly eerie balance. His most complex and acclaimed sculpture, Cirque Calder (1926-31) is often considered as a prelude to Performance Art, as the artist’s manipulated the artwork in front of an audience. Calder’s work implied a sense of gracefulness and emotion; later in his career, he started to fashion colossal outdoor sculptures in steel sheets, always suggesting movement, and visually fascinating. The artist lived between The United States and France, before he passed away in 1976.

Calder’s work is displayed in notable museums such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Tate Gallery in London. Multiple galleries listed on Artland also exhibit Alexander Calder’s work, such as Crane Kalman Gallery, Lévy Gorvy | London, as well as Cardi Gallery | London. There are two collectors in possession of art by Alexander Calder on Artland. These collectors include Jimenez -Colon Collection and robertmaslin, who also has works by other artists including Michael Staniak, Sissi Farassat, and Qafar Rzayev.

Alexander Calder

  • Artworks in Collections 2
  • Exhibitions 30
  • Related Artists

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