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Alexander Calder Sculptures

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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Artist: Alexander Calder
rare Maeght sculpted holiday card 1968 - collectors item mid century modern art
By Alexander Calder
Located in New York, NY
Alexander Calder rare Maeght sculpted holiday card, 1968 Hand made sculpted paper collage on paper with embossing Embossed artist's monogram 10 × 7 × 6 1/2 inches This rare, fold-ou...
Category

1960s Contemporary Alexander Calder Sculptures

Materials

Paper, Mixed Media, Laid Paper, Lithograph, Offset

Woman with Square Umbrella
By Alexander Calder
Located in Palm Desert, CA
A sculpture in wood depicting a woman holding an umbrella. "Woman with Square Umbrella" by Post War artist Alexander Calder is signed underneath, "Calder." "Woman with a Square Umbre...
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1920s Post-War Alexander Calder Sculptures

Materials

Wood

Prelude to the Man Eater, A03849
By Alexander Calder
Located in Palm Desert, CA
"Prelude to the Man Eater, A03849" is a mobile sculpture made of sheet metal, wire, and paint by Alexander Calder. The work is signed with the artist's monogram on the uppermost element, "CA". The overall size is 59 x 42 x 18 inches. This work is a study for "Man-Eater With Pennant", part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. The work is also represented in "Sketches for Mobiles: Prelude to Man-Eater; Starfish; Octopus", that is in the permanent collection of the Harvard Fogg Museum. Alexander Calder was a key figure in the development of abstract sculpture and is renowned for his groundbreaking work in kinetic art; he is one of the most influential artists of the Twentieth Century. "Prelude to Maneater" is a delicately balanced standing sculpture that responds to air currents, creating a constantly changing and dynamic visual experience. Calder's Stabiles were a result of his continuous experimentation with materials, form, and balance. This Stabile is a historically significant prelude to a larger work commissioned in 1945 by Alfred Barr, the first director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. "Prelude to Maneater" is designed to be viewed from multiple angles, and encourages viewers to walk around and interact with it. Work by Calder can be found in esteemed private collections, and the collections of major museums worldwide including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Tate Gallery in London among others. Provenance: Estate of the Artist M. Knoedler & Co., New York Galerie Internazionale, Milan Arnold Herstand...
Category

Mid-20th Century Abstract Alexander Calder Sculptures

Materials

Metal, Wire

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Alexander Calder sculptures for sale on 1stDibs.

Find a wide variety of authentic Alexander Calder sculptures available for sale on 1stDibs. You can also browse by medium to find art by Alexander Calder in acrylic paint, metal, paint and more. Much of the original work by this artist or collective was created during the 20th century and is mostly associated with the post-war style. Not every interior allows for large Alexander Calder sculptures, so small editions measuring 6 inches across are available. Customers who are interested in this artist might also find the work of Yves Klein, Pablo Picasso, and Giorgio De Chirico. Alexander Calder sculptures prices can differ depending upon medium, time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $250,000 and tops out at $250,000, while the average work can sell for $250,000.
Questions About Alexander Calder Sculptures
  • 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
    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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
  • 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.

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