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Alexander Calder

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Alexander Calder was an American artist best known for his sculptures and mobiles.

Biography of Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder was born in Lawnton, Pennsylvania, and grew up in a family of artists. His father, Alexander Stirling Calder, was a well-known sculptor, and his mother, Nanette Lederer Calder, was a painter. Growing up in a creative environment, Calder was exposed to art from a young age.

Calder initially studied mechanical engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey. During the summer of 1916, Alexander Calder devoted five weeks to training at the Plattsburgh Civilian Military Training Camp. This experience provided him with valuable insights and skills in the military sphere.

In 1918, Calder took a significant step in his military journey by joining the Student's Army Training Corps, the Naval Section, at Stevens. In June 1922, Alexander Calder secured a mechanic position aboard the passenger ship H.F. Alexander. After the vessel was docked in San Fransisco, Calder traveled to Aberdeen, where his sister lived. Soon after this, he decided to move to New York. There, Alexander Calder enrolled at the Art Students League (an art school in New York). He embarked on a brief but impactful journey of artistic education under the guidance of influential instructors such as George Luks, Boardman Robinson, and John Sloan. Simultaneously, Calder found employment at the National Police Gazette.

In 1925, he was entrusted with a fascinating assignment: sketching the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. In 1926, Alexander Calder made the life-changing decision to relocate to Paris. There, he enrolled at the prestigious Académie de la Grande Chaumière, immersing himself in the rich artistic atmosphere of the city. Here he met artists Fernand Léger, Jean Arp, and Marcel Duchamp.

In 1931, Alexander Calder achieved a significant milestone in his artistic career with his first exhibition of abstract constructions. This momentous event took place at the renowned Galerie Percier.

In 1963, Alexander Calder found himself a new workshop in a picturesque location overlooking the enchanting valley of the Lower Chevrière to Saché in Indre-et-Loire, France.

Alexander Calder's artwork

Calder's early works were inspired by abstract and geometric forms of modern art, and he began creating wire sculptures and circus figures in the 1920s. In the 1930s, he developed his signature mobiles - kinetic sculptures that move and change their shape in response to air currents.

Calder's mobiles were a groundbreaking innovation in the art world, combining the principles of abstract form and the dynamic movement of the natural world.

In addition to his sculptures, Calder also created paintings, prints, and tapestries. He was known for his playful and whimsical approach to art.

In 1925, Alexander Calder rekindled his interest in printmaking, delving into the intricacies of this artistic medium. With his newfound focus, he started producing illustrations for books and journals, further expanding his artistic repertoire.

In his earlier prints and drawings, Calder employed delicate and precise lines to define the contours of figures. However, as his artistic vision evolved, he began to use these thin lines to depict groups of geometric shapes, often imbued with a sense of motion.

Recognition of Alexander Calder

Works of Alexander Calder are prominently featured in numerous permanent collections: the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.