Thinking of giving art for Christmas? Explore our gift guide
  • € (EUR)
  • Need some help ?
Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder

United States • Born in: 1898

​Master Artists

Geometric Sculptors

Painters

Printmakers Artists

American artists

Alexander Calder, a major sculptor of the abstract movement, was born in Lawton, Pennsylvania, 1898, and passed away in New York, 1976. As a child, Calder enjoyed building things and went on to study mechanical engineering. His engineering background later gave him the knowledge to develop the mechanisms of his sculptures. In 1923, he decided to devote himself fully to art and went to New York in pursuit of fine art studies.

His first freehand drawings depicting athletes, acrobats, and street scenes, which were early indicators of his sculptural style. He drew animals at the zoo and began taking a keen interest in motion, movement, and animation. In 1929, Calder moved to Paris and met some of the most important artists of the time, including Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and Joan Miró.

Upon seeing Piet Mondrian's colored squares for the first time in 1930, Calder had a genuine revelation. He imagined them floating in space; movement later became the main “material" of his work. He embraced geometric abstraction and produced moving wire sculptures, or "mobiles" as Marcel Duchamp called them. They broke completely with the dense and imposing sculptures of the time as Calder's works are distinguished by their lightness. This marked the beginning of kinetic art; even if Calder's goal was not so much movement yet, but the search for balance, symmetry, silence, lightness, and subtlety.

From 1933 onwards, Alexander Calder's works received critical and public acclaim, particularly his painting "La Fontaine de Mercure", shown at the Universal Exhibition in 1937. In 1952, he received the Grand Prize at the Venice Biennale, and in 1964 the Guggenheim dedicated a major retrospective to him. His influence still resonates in modern days: in 2016, the Tate Modern held a major retrospective on the legendary sculptor.

Read more

Print

Painting

Suivant

Discover our selections of works by artists

Need help finding your favorite? Consult our selection pages made for you.
Need to know more?

Who is the artist?

Alexander Calder, a major sculptor of the abstract movement, was born in Lawton, Pennsylvania, 1898, and passed away in New York, 1976. As a child, Calder enjoyed building things and went on to study mechanical engineering. His engineering background later gave him the knowledge to develop the mechanisms of his sculptures. In 1923, he decided to devote himself fully to art and went to New York in pursuit of fine art studies.

His first freehand drawings depicting athletes, acrobats, and street scenes, which were early indicators of his sculptural style. He drew animals at the zoo and began taking a keen interest in motion, movement, and animation. In 1929, Calder moved to Paris and met some of the most important artists of the time, including Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and Joan Miró.

Upon seeing Piet Mondrian's colored squares for the first time in 1930, Calder had a genuine revelation. He imagined them floating in space; movement later became the main “material" of his work. He embraced geometric abstraction and produced moving wire sculptures, or "mobiles" as Marcel Duchamp called them. They broke completely with the dense and imposing sculptures of the time as Calder's works are distinguished by their lightness. This marked the beginning of kinetic art; even if Calder's goal was not so much movement yet, but the search for balance, symmetry, silence, lightness, and subtlety.

From 1933 onwards, Alexander Calder's works received critical and public acclaim, particularly his painting "La Fontaine de Mercure", shown at the Universal Exhibition in 1937. In 1952, he received the Grand Prize at the Venice Biennale, and in 1964 the Guggenheim dedicated a major retrospective to him. His influence still resonates in modern days: in 2016, the Tate Modern held a major retrospective on the legendary sculptor.

What are his 3 main works?

What is Alexander Calder’s artistic movement?

The artistic movements of the artists are: Geometric Sculptors

When was Alexander Calder born?

The year of birth of the artist is: 1898