Alexander Calder bigraphy, stories - Sculpture

Alexander Calder : biography

July 22, 1898 - November 11, 1976

Alexander Calder (July 22, 1898 – November 11, 1976) was an American sculptor best known as the originator of the mobile, a type of kinetic sculpture the delicately balanced or suspended components of which move in response to motor power or air currents; by contrast, Calder’s stationary sculptures are called stabiles. He also produced numerous wire figures, notably for a vast miniature circus.


Calder's first solo exhibition came in 1927, at the Gallery of Jacques Seligmann in Paris. L&M Arts, New York/Los Angeles. In 1928, his first solo show in a US commercial gallery was at the Weyhe Gallery in New York City. In 1933, he exhibited with the Abstraction-Création group in Paris.

In 1935, he had his first solo museum exhibition in the United States at The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago. In New York, he was championed from the early 1930s by the Museum of Modern Art, and was one of three Americans to be included in Alfred H. Barr Jr.'s 1936 exhibition Cubism and Abstract Art.Roberta Smith (March 27, 1998) New York Times.

Calder's first retrospective was held in 1938 at George Walter Vincent Smith Gallery in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1943, the Museum of Modern Art hosted a well-received Calder retrospective, curated by James Johnson Sweeney and Marcel Duchamp; the show had to be extended due to the sheer number of visitors. Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale, 8 November 2011, New York. Calder was one of 250 sculptors who exhibited in the 3rd Sculpture International held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the summer of 1949. His mobile, International Mobile was the centerpiece of the exhibition. Calder also participated in documentas I (1955), II (1959), III (1964).

Since Calder's death, his work has now been the subject of numerous museum exhibitions, including Alexander Calder, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark, 1995 (traveled to: Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Musée d'art moderne, Paris, in 1996); 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, Menil Collection, Houston, 2005-2006 (traveled to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Minneapolis Institute of Arts); Calder Jewelry, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, 2008 (traveled to Philadelphia Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum, New York; Irish Museum of Modern Art; San Diego Museum of Art; 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; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto); Calder, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, 2009–2010; and Alexander Calder: A Balancing Act, Seattle Art Museum, 2009–2010. Gagosian Gallery, London. From February 11 through May 28, 2012 the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague has an exhibition about Calder, including his relationship with Piet Mondrian.


In 1952, Calder represented the United States at the Venice Biennale and was awarded the main prize for sculpture. He also won the First Prize for Sculpture at the 1958 Pittsburgh International.


"How can art be realized?

Out of volumes, motion, spaces bounded by the great space, the universe.

Out of different masses, tight, heavy, middling—indicated by variations of size or color—directional line—vectors which represent speeds, velocities, accelerations, forces, etc. . . .—these directions making between them meaningful angles, and senses, together defining one big conclusion or many.

Spaces, volumes, suggested by the smallest means in contrast to their mass, or even including them, juxtaposed, pierced by vectors, crossed by speeds.

Nothing at all of this is fixed.

Each element able to move, to stir, to oscillate, to come and go in its relationships with the other elements in its universe.

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Living octopus

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