ALEXANDER CALDER SCULPTURE

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ALEXANDER CALDER
ALEXANDER CALDER SCULPTURE
1/27/1999 - 5/31/1999

Alexander Calder, one of the most important and renowned artists of the twentieth-century, is the creator of a new form of modern sculpture - the mobile. Calder introduced movement into art by adding a fourth dimension into the height, width, and depth of traditional sculpture and called it a "mobile". Mobiles are suspended from the ceiling, as seen in the white "Untitled" (1963), or balanced on the point of a standing sculpture, as in the large scale "La douche (The Shower)," 1975, or the small-sized "Little Pierced Disc" (c. 1947). Their movement is graceful and spontaneous, and creates an ever-changing sculptural configuration  

  

Alexander Calder was born in Philadelphia in 1898, and produced an inventive and influential body of work for over fifty years, until his death in New York in 1976. Calder was trained in mechanical engineering, and he combined this knowledge with his unique artistic talents to develop an abstract art form consisting of planes of cut sheet metal painted in bold primary colors and black and white.  

 

Calder also created sculptures without moving elements, called "stabilies" and "Black Beast" (1940) is one of his earliest large-scale works. In addition, he frequently combined a stabile with a mobile, as seen in "White Disc Seven Dots on Red and Black" (1960).  

  

It is very fitting that the art of Alexander Calder is now exhibited in the Lobby Gallery of the Lever House building. Throughout his career, Calder collaborated with the masters of modern architecture and created sculptural artworks for buildings by Marcel Breuer, Gordon Bunshaft, Philip Johnson, I. M. Pei, and Eero Saarinen, among others. Bunshaft, the architect of Lever House (for the architectural firm Skidmore, Owing & Merrill), had originally envisioned sculpture as an integral component of Lever House, and the glass encased lobby is an ideal setting for the presentation of modern art. Upon it's opening in 1952, Lever House was hailed as a masterpiece of modern art, and is now officially acknowledged by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.  

  

Richard D. Marshall, Curator  

  

  

Works in the Exhibition:  

  

BLACK BEAST (MAQUETTE), 1939  

Painted sheet metal, 21 x 28 x 17 inches  

Courtesy Calder Foundation, New York  

  

BLACK BEAST, 1940  

Painted sheet metal, 103 x 163 x 78 1/2 inches  

Courtesy Calder Foundation, New York  

  

LITTLE PIERCED DISC, 1947  

Painted sheet metal wire and wire, 11 x 14 x 3 1/2 inches  

Courtesy Calder Foundation, New York  

  

UNTITLED, C. 1958  

Painted aluminum, wire, and rod, 10 x 72 x 31 inches  

Courtesy Pace Wildenstein, New York  

  

WHITE DISC SEVEN DOTS ON RED AND BLACK, 1960  

Painted sheet metal, wire, and rod, 21 3/8 x 21 5/8 x 23 5/8 inches  

Courtesy Pace Wildenstein, New York  

  

UNTITLED, 1963  

Painted sheet metal, wire, and rod, 52 x 98x 98 inches  

Courtesy Pace Wildenstein, New York  

  

LA DOUCHE (THE SHOWER), 1975  

Painted sheet metal, wire, and rod, 96 x 48 x 48 inches  

Courtesy Calder Foundation, New York  

  

www.calder.org