Born in Lawnton, Pennsylvania, in 1898, Alexander Calder came from an artistic family. Once he finished his engineering studies in 1922, he joined the Art Students League of New York at the age of 25 and began working as a press illustrator. He moved to Paris in 1926, where for the next three years he devoted himself to making his Cirque, a miniature circus of 200 performers made from simple materials such as wire and fabric that he would animate over a twohour performance.
In 1928 he presented his first solo exhibition in New York. Once he returned to Paris, he was quickly accepted into the Parisian avant-garde, joining the Abstraction-Création group where he met Piet Mondrian, who would become a great influence, as would Joan Miró and the Surrealists. His works became increasingly abstract, and in the early 1930s he showed his first “mobiles”, the name given by Marcel Duchamp to Calder’s sculptures constructed with articulated rods and plates, some of which moved by way of little motors. In the 1950s he produced a large number of monumental works – “stabiles”, as coined by Hans Arp – intended for installation in open spaces. Throughout his career he also produced paintings and prints, developing these areas in parallel with his three-dimensional work and driving his practice towards abstraction and movement. Calder passed away in New York City in 1976.
Previous exhibitions in France (selection)
Calder, forger of giant dragonflies, Musée Soulages, Rodez
Alexander Calder, MAMAC, Nice
Alexander Calder: The Paris Years, 1926-1933, Centre Pompidou, Paris