MoMA
Alexander Calder. Spider. 1939
Alexander Calder

Spider

1939
Not on view
Medium
Painted sheet aluminum, steel rod, and steel wire
Dimensions
6' 8 1/2" x 7' 4 1/2" x 36 1/2" (203.5 x 224.5 x 92.6 cm)
Credit
Gift of the artist
Object number
391.1966.a-c
Copyright
© 2015 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Although Calder often titled his works after he completed them, this work does suggest an abstract homage to a spider—its slender, curved wires, in particular, conjure the legs of an arachnid. Calder has orchestrated a careful balancing act between the large disc and the dramatically cantilevered appendages, which slowly flutter in space with every current of air. A steel rod anchors the sculpture, making this a standing mobile, yet unpredictable movement constantly modifies its form.

The existentialist philosopher Jean–Paul Sartre extolled Calders mobiles. He described the mobile as a "lyrical invention," inhabiting "a half–way station between the servility of a statue and the independence of nature. Each of its evolutions is the inspiration of a split second. One sees the artists main theme, but the mobile embroiders it with a thousand variations."

Gallery label from Focus: Alexander Calder, 2007
Provenance information
The artist
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the artist, 1966

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Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
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