Alexander Calder

(American, 1898 – 1976) 

“The underlying sense of form in my work has been the system of the Universe, or part thereof. For that is a rather large model to work from.”

-       Alexander Calder

The pioneer of kinetic art, Calder’s art is participative, playful, and primary. In a time where art was something you looked at on the wall, Calder made pieces that nearly breathed with the viewer. A natural artist, Calder was always creating and focusing on creation. It has been said that he would always carry with him a roll of copper wire and pliers to make small sculptures on a whim. He has experimented with many techniques and media including drawings, oil paintings, watercolors, etchings, gouache, serigraphy, sculpture, and motorized sculpture.

Alexander Calder was born July 22nd, 1898, in Pennsylvania, son of Alexander Stirling Calder and grandson of Alexander Milne Calder- both successful sculptors. In 1919, he received an engineering degree from Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken. Denying his artistic abilities he pursued a career in mechanical engineering. However, while working as a mechanic on the H.F. Alexander passenger ship, he had a moment of inspiration that changed his perspective forever: “It was early one morning on a calm sea, off Guatemala, when over my couch—a coil of rope—I saw the beginning of a fiery red sunrise on one side and the moon looking like a silver coin on the other." Shortly after this experience, Calder decided to move back to New York to pursue a career in art.

 Calder attended the Art Students League, New York, until 1926. As a freelance artist for the National Police Gazette in 1925, he spent two weeks sketching at the circus. This same year he published his first book, Animal Sketches, illustrated in ink. He also made his first sculpture in 1925; an animal construction out of wire and wood. Calder’s first exhibition of paintings took place in 1926 at the Artists’ Gallery in New York.

 Calder’s first exhibition was in New York in 1928. That same year he met Joan Miro, who became a lifelong friend and influence. Calder began to experiment with abstract sculpture at this time and in 1932, introduced moving parts into his wire sculptures. These moving works were called “mobiles”, which became a huge success in the art world. During his lifetime and since his death, Calder has been featured in as well as the subject of over 100 exhibitions.

American Fine Art, Inc. represents this famed American artist in addition to a variety of other world renowned artists including: Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Joan Miro, Andrew Wyeth, LeRoy Neiman, Salvador Dali, Marc Chagall, and more. Visit our 12,000 sq. ft. showroom in Scottsdale, AZ or call today. Our website is offered only as a limited place to browse or refresh your memory and is not a reflection of our current inventory. To learn more about collecting, pricing, value or any other art information, please contact one of our International Art Consultants. We look forward to giving you the one on one attention you deserve when building your fine art collection.  We hope you find our website helpful and look forward to seeing you in Scottsdale soon.