b. 1898 Lawnton, Pennsylvania


Alexander Calder is an American artist who redefined sculpture in the fine art world, by introducing the element of movement, first through performances of his mechanical Calder’s Circus and later with motorised works, and, finally, with hanging works called “mobiles.” In addition to his abstract mobiles, Calder also created static sculptures, called “stabiles,” as well as paintings, jewelry, theater sets, and costumes. His whimsical, kinetic sculptures sway in the slightest breeze, transforming themselves into a myriad of new configurations. He is less known for the hundreds of Alexander Calder paintings, and thousand of prints. Calder did not consider himself much of a painter. He engaged in two-dimensional work in a more exploratory way, so he could examine ideas about colour, space and composition. Nonetheless, though it may not have been his main focus, his painting and print oeuvre brilliantly organises and contextualises his ideas about movement and the relationships of objects within what he called the system of the universe.