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Alexander Calder

(American, 1898-1976)

Alexander Calder was an acclaimed and influential American sculptor whose career spanned much of the 20th century. He developed a new method of sculpting by blending and twisting wire to create three-dimensional figures in space.

Born in Philadelphia in 1898, Calder studied engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey from 1915, before undertaking drawing courses with Clinton Balmer in New York in 1922. The following year, he studied at the Art Students League, before moving to Paris in 1926 to study at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière.

Calder's first solo show was at the Paris Galerie Billet-Pierre Vorms in 1929. The next year he joined the artists group "Abstraction-Création" and began to deal increasingly with abstractions. Inspired by a trip to the Paris observatory Calder created his first mobile and abstract wire sculptures, which he presented at the Galerie Vignon in Paris in 1932. He has since become renowned for the invention of the mobile, creating the impression of playful airiness through the suspension of abstract elements, which balance and move in harmony. Calder also created a number of large-scale outdoor sculptures from bolted sheet steel.

Alexander Calder died in New York in 1976.

Alexander Calder