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(1898 – 1976), USA

Alexander Calder Biography

Alexander Calder is an iconic American sculptor whose illustrator career, spanning much of the 20th century, profoundly changed the course of modern art.

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Calder began by developing a new method of sculpting that involved bending and twisting wire, which enabled him to essentially 'draw' three-dimensional figures in space. Initially, these took figurative forms. One of the most beloved early Alexander Calder artworks, Calder's Circus (1926–1931), which he made in Paris, featured a plethora of items and articulated characters formed from twisted wire and other materials. The kinetic element of this work would inform Alexander Calder's sculptures in the years to come.

Alexander Calder's mobiles are perhaps his most renowned inventions, comprising suspended, abstract elements that move and balance in changing harmony. Though none were intended for children, throughout his career, Calder created numerous metal mobiles in various contexts.

Calder also devoted himself to making outdoor sculpture on a grand scale from bolted sheet steel. Today, these stately titans grace public plazas in cities throughout the world. They are popular civic icons.

Alexander Calder's prints, paintings, and other artworks on paper made in the 1960s and 70s are pristine examples of the influence of Joan Miró, Theo van Doesburg, Fernand Léger, and Piet Mondrian on his practice. They are colourful compositions, rendered in vivid primary colours with a focus on line and geometric forms. Some retain almost surreal figurative elements, while others are entirely abstract.

Alexander Calder also created a substantial collection of jewellery, which borrows some of the contrasting abstract elements of his sculptures.

Alexander Calder was born in 1898 in Lawton, Pennsylvania, to a family of celebrated, if more classically trained artists. Passing away in New York in 1976, the same year he had a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art (one of several institutional retrospectives in his lifetime), Alexander Calder left behind a career and a legacy spanning decades and continents.

Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2020

Alexander Calder Featured Artworks

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Untitled by Alexander Calder contemporary artwork
Alexander CalderUntitled, 1960Sheet metal, brass, wire, and paint
48.8 x 60.9 x 11.4 cm
Lévy Gorvy Contact Gallery
Frère (maquette) by Alexander Calder contemporary artwork
Alexander CalderFrère (maquette), c. 1976Standing mobile, sheet metal, wire, paint
104.14 x 60.96 x 33.02 cm
Cardi Gallery Contact Gallery
Mountains (1:5 intermediate maquette) by Alexander Calder contemporary artwork
Alexander CalderMountains (1:5 intermediate maquette), 1976Sheet metal, bolts and paint
388.6 x 365.8 x 350.5 cm
Pace Gallery
Untitled by Alexander Calder contemporary artwork
Alexander CalderUntitled, 1963Painted metal and wire
66 x 137.2 cm
Tina Kim Gallery Contact Gallery
Untitled by Alexander Calder contemporary artwork
Alexander CalderUntitled, 1970Oil on canvas
74.9 x 108 cm
Hauser & Wirth Contact Gallery
London [maquette] by Alexander Calder contemporary artwork
Alexander CalderLondon [maquette], 1962Sheet metal, wire, and paint
88.9 x 114.3 x 25.4 cm
Hauser & Wirth Contact Gallery
Sword Plant by Alexander Calder contemporary artwork
Alexander CalderSword Plant, 1947Sheet metal, wire, and paint
97.8 x 78.7 x 72.4 cm
Hauser & Wirth Contact Gallery
Guirlandes by Alexander Calder contemporary artwork
Alexander CalderGuirlandes, 1975Mixed media on paper
29.53 x 43.31 inches
Sundaram Tagore Gallery Contact Gallery

Alexander Calder Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Still Life at Almine Rech, Avenue Matignon, Paris
Upcoming
10 March–10 April 2021 Group Exhibition Still Life Almine RechAvenue Matignon, Paris
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Small Format at Pace Gallery, New York
Closed
13 February–19 March 2020 Group Exhibition Small Format Pace GalleryNew York
Contemporary art exhibition, Alexander Calder, Calder at Hauser & Wirth, St. Moritz
Closed
13 December 2019–9 February 2020 Alexander Calder Calder Hauser & WirthSt. Moritz

Alexander Calder Represented By

Bailly Gallery contemporary art gallery in Paris, France Bailly Gallery Geneva, Paris
Cardi Gallery contemporary art gallery in Milan, Italy Cardi Gallery London, Milan
Kukje Gallery contemporary art gallery in Seoul, South Korea Kukje Gallery Busan, Seoul
Lévy Gorvy contemporary art gallery in New York, USA Lévy Gorvy New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris, Zurich
Pace Gallery contemporary art gallery in New York, USA Pace Gallery New York, London, Geneva, Palo Alto, Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing

Alexander Calder In Ocula Magazine

Robert Nava's First Show at Pace is a Veritable Sharknado Ocula News Robert Nava's First Show at Pace is a Veritable Sharknado Palm Beach, 7 January 2021

The artist, who embraces 'bad' painting, joined the gallery in November 2020.

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A Change of Scene: Art Stage Singapore 2018 Ocula Feature A Change of Scene: Art Stage Singapore 2018 By Diana d'Arenberg, Singapore

This year marked the eighth edition of Art Stage Singapore (26–28 January 2018), founded with the goal of bringing together galleries and art from Southeast Asia under the roof of the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre. The fair was, in its initial years, seen as Singapore's answer to Art Basel, but with a distinct regional...

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Alexander Calder In Related Press

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Pace Gallery opens Chelsea HQ with Calder, Hockney and more Related Press Pace Gallery opens Chelsea HQ with Calder, Hockney and more 8 October 2019, Wallpaper*

While a handful of Manhattan galleries have flocked south where Tribeca is emerging as a new cultural destination, it's the international blue-chips who are banking on Chelsea's staying power. The recent opening of Pace Gallery's 75,000 sq ft headquarters, designed by Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture, cements the powerhouse's presence in the city's...

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The Surrealist artists who created jewel-sized masterpieces Related Press The Surrealist artists who created jewel-sized masterpieces 27 August 2019, The Jewellery Editor

The line between art and jewellery has become increasingly blurred since the 20th century, when modernist artists like Meret Oppenheim, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst and Man Ray began exploring the possibilities of miniature metalwork. These exciting experiments with form challenged the art world's status quo, producing uniquely arresting jewels with...

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Calder's black steel meets the white cube at a new exhibition at Hauser & Wirth Related Press Calder's black steel meets the white cube at a new exhibition at Hauser & Wirth 30 October 2018, Los Angeles Times

The stark white room is punctuated by abstract black forms — jagged, organic, dramatic and playful — that sprout up from the floor or dangle languidly from the ceiling. Glimpsed out of the corner of your eye, they shift ever so slightly as you walk down the long gallery space, a former bank building. Around each corner, a new surprise....

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Calder’s Sculptures Come Alive Related Press Calder’s Sculptures Come Alive 3 July 2017, The New Yorker

In the summer of 1922, Alexander Calder was twenty-three and doing a stint as a merchant marine. One morning made a cosmic impression. As he later described it, '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.' The story has all the elements of a...

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Alexander Calder In Video & Audio

Alexander Calder’s Outdoor Mobiles and Stabiles at Hauser & Wirth Somerset Related Video & Audio Alexander Calder’s Outdoor Mobiles and Stabiles at Hauser & Wirth Somerset 22 May 2018, Hauser & Wirth

Unfolding across all five gallery spaces, this major solo exhibition Alexander Calder. From the Stony River to the Sky features almost 100 works including large-scale outdoor pieces which are set within the gardens of Durslade Farm. Five stabiles and a standing mobile bridge the link between the works on view in the galleries and the...

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Alexander Calder’s Roxbury home Related Video & Audio Alexander Calder’s Roxbury home 10 May 2018, Hauser & Wirth

Alexander S. C. Rower, Calder Foundation president and grandson of the artist, introduces From the Stony River to the Sky, a major solo exhibition of works by Alexander Calder (1898–1976) on view at Hauser & Wirth Somerset through 9 September 2018. Alexander Calder’s direct and innovative approach runs through every aspect of his oeuvre...

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A Luta Continua. The Sylvio Perlstein Collection Related Video & Audio A Luta Continua. The Sylvio Perlstein Collection 8 May 2018, Hauser & Wirth

Unfolding across all three floors of Hauser & Wirth New York, 22 nd Street, A Luta Continua is the first United States presentation of the Sylvio Perlstein Collection. Curated by David Rosenberg, the exhibition presents more than 360 works by some 250 artists. Among these are Josef Albers, Carl Andre, Diane Arbus, Hans Bellmer, André...

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