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Alexander Calder

American, 1898-1976

The American sculptor Alexander Calder is known as the father of the mobile, a moving artwork composed of delicately balanced sculptural forms suspended from the ceiling.

Because Calder's parents, both artists themselves, did not want him to suffer the hardships of trying to make a living in art, they encouraged the young Calder to study mechanical engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. He worked a number of jobs, including as a hydraulic engineer and draftsman for the New York Edison Company, before deciding to pursue an artistic career. He never abandoned his engineering background, however, applying his understanding of gears and moving parts in all his artworks, from mechanical toys like the Cirque Calder (1931) and his revered prints to his free-standing abstract sculptures, called stabiles.

In 1926, Calder moved to Paris and established a studio in the Montparnasse quarter. He began creating the many parts of his famous miniature circus from found materials, such as wire, string, cloth, rubber and cork. Designed to be transportable, Cirque grew to fill five suitcases over the years. Always interested in putting forms in motion, Calder also pioneered a new art form called wire sculptures, which he described as “drawings in space.” Like his famous mobiles, the wire sculptures were suspended so that they turned with any movement of the air, presenting different forms when viewed from different angles.

In the 1950s, Calder returned to his roots in mechanical engineering, creating monumental abstract sculptures that verged on the architectural. He worked from loose gestural drawings like this preparatory sketch for his Man Stabile, from 1966. Throughout his career, he also worked as a set designer for the theater, as well as an illustrator and printmaker, producing vibrant, whimsical drawings for books and journals.

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Average Sold Price
$1,131
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Alexander Calder lithograph derrière le miroir (1960s Calder prints)
By Alexander Calder
Located in NEW YORK, NY
Alexander Calder Lithograph c. 1967 from Derrière le miroir: Lithograph in colors; 15 x 11 inches. Very good overall vintage condition; well-preseved. Unsigned from an edition of u...
Category

1960s Pop Art Alexander Calder

Materials

Lithograph, Offset

Derriere Le Miroir-Page 11
By Alexander Calder
Located in Fairlawn, OH
Derriere Le Miroir-Page 11 Color lithograph, 1973 Unsigned (as issued) From: Derriere Le Miroir, No. 201, January 1973 Publisher: Maeght Editeur, Paris Printer: L’Imprimerie Arte, Ad...
Category

1970s French School Alexander Calder

Materials

Lithograph

Flying Colors '76 (Stars and Stripes) /// Alexander Calder Abstract Modern Art
By Alexander Calder
Located in Saint Augustine, FL
Artist: Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976) Title: "Flying Colors '76 (Stars and Stripes)" Portfolio: Flying Colors *Issued unsigned, though signed by Calder in the plate (printed...
Category

1970s Modern Alexander Calder

Materials

Lithograph

Alexander Calder Lithograph Derriere le miroir (Calder prints)
By Alexander Calder
Located in NEW YORK, NY
Vintage original Alexander Calder Three Legged Man Lithograph 1975: Lithograph in colors. 15 x 11 inches. Very good overall vintage condition. Unsigned from an edition of unknown. ...
Category

1970s Contemporary Alexander Calder

Materials

Lithograph

Alexander Calder lithograph Derrière le miroir (Calder prints)
By Alexander Calder
Located in NEW YORK, NY
Alexander Calder Lithograph c. 1971 from Derrière le miroir: Lithograph in colors; 15 x 11 inches. Very good overall vintage condition; well-preseved. Unsigned from an edition of un...
Category

1970s Pop Art Alexander Calder

Materials

Lithograph

Alexander Calder lithograph Derrière le miroir (Calder prints)
By Alexander Calder
Located in NEW YORK, NY
Alexander Calder Lithograph c. 1967 from Derrière le miroir: Lithograph in colors; 15 x 11 inches. Very good overall vintage condition; well-preserved. Unsigned from an edition of u...
Category

Mid-20th Century Abstract Alexander Calder

Materials

Lithograph

Plate 1, from Derriere Le Miroir #173
By Alexander Calder
Located in Washington, DC
Artist: Alexander Calder Title: Plate 1 Portfolio: Derriere le Miroir #173 Medium: Lithograph Year: 1968 Edition: Unnumbered Frame Size: 21 1/4" x 17 1/4" Sheet Size: 15" x 11" Image...
Category

1960s Abstract Alexander Calder

Materials

Lithograph

1960's Alexander Calder lithographic cover Derrière le miroir
By Alexander Calder
Located in NEW YORK, NY
Alexander Calder Lithographic cover c. 1968 from Derrière le miroir: Lithograph in colors; 11 x 15 inches. Very good overall vintage condition. Unsigned from an edition of unknown with crisp bright colors. Published by: Galerie Maeght, Paris, c. 1968. Unsigned from an edition of unknown. Looks fantastic framed. Derrière le miroir: In October 1945 the French art dealer Aimé Maeght opens his art gallery at 13 Rue de Téhéran in Paris. His beginning coincides with the end of Second World War and the return of a number of exiled artists back to France. The publication was created in October 1946 (n°1) and published without interruption until 1982 (n°253). Its original articles and illustrations (mainly original color lithographs by the gallery artists) who were famous at the time. The lithographic publication covered only the artists exhibited by Maeght gallery either through personal or group exhibitions. Among them were, Pierre Alechinsky, Francis Bacon, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Eduardo Chillida, Alberto Giacometti, Vassily Kandinsky, Ellsworth Kelly, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Saul Steinberg and Antoni Tapies. Related Categories: Mid century modern. Alexander Calder prints. Calder orange. Calder red...
Category

1960s Contemporary Alexander Calder

Materials

Lithograph

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Alexander Calder art for sale on 1stDibs.

Find a wide variety of authentic Alexander Calder art available for sale on 1stDibs. If you’re browsing the collection of art to introduce a pop of color in a neutral corner of your living room or bedroom, you can find work that includes elements of orange, red, yellow and other colors. You can also browse by medium to find art by Alexander Calder in lithograph, paint, gouache and more. Much of the original work by this artist or collective was created during the 20th century and is mostly associated with the abstract style. Not every interior allows for large Alexander Calder art, so small editions measuring 5 inches across are available. Customers who are interested in this artist might also find the work of Sam Francis, Teodora Guererra, and Robert Motherwell. Alexander Calder art prices can differ depending upon medium, time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $150 and tops out at $2,850,000, while the average work can sell for $1,331.
Questions About Alexander Calder
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    The American sculptor Alexander Calder invented the mobile, a moving artwork composed of delicately balanced sculptural forms suspended from the ceiling. His mobiles were an innovative feat and initially used motors for movement, which he later abandoned for air currents alone. Calder was also a pioneer of wire sculptures. Shop a selection of Alexander Calder pieces from some of the world’s top art dealers on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    Alexander Calder’s artwork has found its home in many museums and art galleries around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum. Shop a selection of Alexander Calder’s pieces from some of the world’s top art dealers on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertOctober 12, 2021
    The American sculptor Alexander Calder is known as the father of the mobile, a moving artwork composed of delicately balanced sculptural forms suspended from the ceiling. On 1stDibs, find a variety of vintage Alexander Calder drawings and other sculptures.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    Alexander Calder's mobiles were revolutionary because he largely pioneered the art form of creating hanging sculptures that were able to move freely in response to airflow. Calder was a prolific artist believed to have produced more than 22,000 works during his life. Shop a variety of Alexander Calder art on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    American artist Alexander Calder is best known for his work in sculpture, particularly his monumental sculptures and innovative ‘mobiles’ in the tradition of kinetic art. Shop a collection of authentic Alexander Calder pieces from some of the world’s top art dealers on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMay 3, 2024
    Alexander Calder mostly made sculptures, although he also worked in printmaking, painting, performance and other media. He is known as the father of the mobile, a moving artwork composed of delicately balanced sculptural forms suspended from the ceiling. Some of his most famous works include Cirque Calder, A Universe, Josephine Baker (III), Mobile (Arc of Petals), Devil Fish, Romulus and Remus and Fish. On 1stDibs, find a variety of Alexander Calder art.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    Alexander Calder is best known for his sculptures. He produced large, playful freestanding and hanging works in vibrant colors. Examples include Mobile-Stabile, Lobster Trap and Fish Tail and Flying Dragon. On 1stDibs, you can shop a selection of Alexander Calder art.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 16, 2024
    Alexander Calder used many of the elements of art when producing his works. The American sculptor is known as the father of the mobile, a moving artwork composed of delicately balanced sculptural forms suspended from the ceiling. These kinetic pieces use color, shape and space to convey a sense of unity, and the form of the art allows it to interact with its environment. Find a variety of Alexander Calder art on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 3, 2024
    Alexander Calder invented the mobile, a moving artwork composed of delicately balanced sculptural forms suspended from the ceiling. The revered American sculptor's mobiles were an innovative feat and initially used motors for movement, which he later abandoned for air currents alone. Calder was also a pioneer of wire sculptures. (He was a celebrated modernist printmaker, too, and while jewelry was a secondary métier for him, interest in his wearable art has accelerated in recent years.)

    For Calder, the fascinating moment of artistic alchemy comes sometime between his representational canvases of the late 1920s and 1931, the year of his first show of abstract sculpture. Moving to Paris helped spur his creativity, as it did for so many artists and writers. The moment Calder arrived, he began working on one of his most seminal pieces, Cirque Calder (1931), his delightful distillation of the circus into what are essentially three-dimensional line drawings made with wire. 

    Shop authentic Alexander Calder prints, sculptures and other art from some of the world’s top art dealers on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMay 3, 2024
    The art movement that Alexander Calder was connected to was kinetic art. The term refers to art that moves or has the appearance of movement. With their ability to sway and turn once suspended, Calder's mobiles are often referenced as examples of kinetic art. On 1stDibs, find a selection of Alexander Calder art.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    The term ‘mobile’, which was coined by Marcel Duchamp, was used to describe Alexander Calder’s work, as Calder’s sculptures often moved with the help of motors or wind. ‘Mobiles’ was a French pun which meant ‘motion’. On 1stDibs, find a variety of original artwork from Alexander Calder.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    There are several interpretations of how to describe the characteristics of Alexander Calder’s sculptures. Some say they are abstract, with life-like elements, others say they are flat, simplified shapes that intersect at opposing angles. See the magic for yourself — shop a selection of Alexander Calder pieces from some of the world’s top art dealers on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 13, 2024
    Alexander Calder produced more than 22,000 works of art during his lifetime. The prolific artist made paintings, drawings, prints, tapestries, stage sets, jewelry and other types of art. Some of his most famous pieces include Cirque Calder, Josephine Baker (III), A Universe, Mobile (Arc of Petals) and Devil Fish. Shop a diverse assortment of Alexander Calder art on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    Like all meaningful works of art, the mood that best describes American artist Alexander Calder’s sculptures is subject to interpretation. Common descriptors for his abstract work include “playful” or “whimsical.” Calder is best known as the father of the mobile, a moving artwork composed of delicately balanced sculptural forms suspended from the ceiling. Shop a selection of Alexander Calder pieces from some of the world’s top art dealers on 1stDibs.

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