Alexander Calder (United States, 1898 – 1976)
Alexander Calder was an international renowned American sculptor, born in 1898 and died in 1976. After studying mechanical engineering, and working in several jobs in this sector, he decided to turn towards art and studied painting at the Art Students League of New York.
In his early age, the artist had a fascination for circus, which led him to create the Calder Circus in 1926. His first own exhibition took place in New York in 1928, and his meeting with Piet Mondrian in 1930 was a profound artistic turning point. He then developed an abstract and colored style of sculpture, and turned away from figuration.
It is by joining the group “Abstraction-creation”, in 1931, with Piet Mondrian, Hans Arp, and Robert Delaunay, that he realized his first mobiles in iron wire for which he is so famous today. It is about the assembly of mobile and independent elements set in motion by the air or an electric motor, of which Marcel Duchamp gave the denomination “Mobiles”.
From 1933, Alexander Calder met with great success in the United States. The 1930’s are his longest-wounded decade: he improved his abstract moving compositions, realized “La Fontaine de Mercure” exhibited next to “Guernica” at the Spanish pavilion of the International Exhibition in 1937, and had for the first time a retrospective at the George Walter Vincent Smith Gallery in Springfield in 1938.
Alexander Calder received the Grand Prize at the Biennial of Venice in 1952 and in 1964 the Guggenheim museum dedicated him a retrospective exhibition, officially showing his established recognition. The Tate Modern museum also had a retrospective exhibition from November 2015 to April 2016.