Alexander Calder (/ˈkɔːldər/; August 22, 1898 – November 11, 1976) was an American sculptor known as the originator of the mobile, a type of moving sculpture made with delicately balanced or suspended shapes that move in response to touch or air currents. Calder’s monumental stationary sculptures are called stabiles. He also produced wire figures, which are like drawings made in space, and notably a miniature circus work that was performed by the artist.
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Calder graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1919 with a degree in mechanical engineering. After taking classes at the Arts Students League, he became a freelance artist and illustrator, and published a book titled Animal Sketching. In the 1920s, Calder began traveling to Paris, becoming influenced by the work of Klee and Miró. In 1930, after visiting Piet Mondrian's studio, he began to create abstract constructions incorporating biomorphic forms, specifically with variations on the mobile, for which he is most known. Calder divided his time between trips abroad and his farm in Roxbury, Connecticut, and as his commissions grew more frequent, his mobiles became increasingly gigantic. Examples are Flamingo, the stabile at Federal Center Plaza in Chicago, and La Défense, at the Rond Point de La Défense Métro station in Paris.
American, French
Artist, Designer, Tapestry designer, Illustrator, Painter, Sculptor
Alexander Calder, Sandy Calder
Information from Getty’s Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License