I’m sure you all saw this news article last Friday concerning a fantastic flea market find. If you didn’t see it, allow me to explain:
In 2005, a woman saw a unique necklace of hammered brass utilizing swirls and complementing wavy lines.
She paid $15 for it, and wore it a handful of times. Then, while attending an exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art(LINK), she noticed how similar her necklace looked to several in their exhibition of works by Alexander Calder (1898-1976). Turns out, the necklace was an original work by Calder, and was once exhibited in New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1943. The necklace is now up for auction through Christie’s.
Calder was known for his exploratory work in abstract art, creating kinetic mobiles and giant metal ‘stabiles.’
Born in Philadelphia in 1898 to a family of artists (his grandfather, Alexander Milne Calder designed all of the sculptural elements in Philadelphia’s City Hall, and his father, Alexander Stirling Calder, created bronzes for public spaces), Calder exhibited early signs of artistic ability by making toys for his parents out of brass sheets.
After attending college for mechanical engineering, Calder decided to pursue painting as a career, and worked in Paris during the late 1920s as an illustrator and toy designer. After seeing Dutch artist Piet Mondrian’s work, Calder remarked that he would like to see these paintings move, and set to work creating metal mobiles involving harmonic, yet independent, balanced movements using wind propulsion.
Calder worked mainly in metal, but many of sculptures, jewelry, and paintings involved the use of found objects, especially those fashioned during World War II. Metal was scarce, so Calder reverted to the materials he had available. This fish in the Hirshhorn Museum’s collection illustrates both Calder’s love of movement as well as his ability to experiment with a variety of mediums.
In addition to the physical movement of sculpture, Calder experimented with sculpture’s aesthetic movement. His large sculptures broke spatial and visual boundaries, testing the limits of sheet metal, as well as initializing a sense of movement into a static sculpture, things that hadn’t really been explored before Calder. A number of his larger stabiles illustrated geometric, organic lines, influenced by animals.
Calder died in 1976, but left a huge impact and legacy on modern art.
Calder Foundation. www.calder.org
Calder, Alexander. Dog. 1909. National Gallery of Art. Private Collection. 17 August 2013 http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/calder/realsp/room1-enter.htm
Calder, Alexander. Duck. 1909. National Gallery of Art. Private Collection. 17 August 2013 http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/calder/realsp/room1-enter.htm
Calder, Alexander. Fish. 1944. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 1966. 17 August 2013. http://www.hirshhorn.si.edu/search-results/?edan_search_value=Alexander%20Calder#detail=http%3A//www.hirshhorn.si.edu/search-results/search-result-details/%3Fedan_search_value%3Dhmsg_66.785
Calder, Alexander. Whale.. 1937. National Gallery of Art. Private Collection. 17 August 2013 http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/calder/realsp/room56-4.htm
Frank, Pricsilla. ‘Alexander Calder Necklace Found At A Flea Market For $15, Could Fetch $300,000.’ Huffington Post. 16 August 2013. Web. 16 August 2013 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/15/flea-market-calder_n_3762896.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003&ir=Style&utm_content=buffer717c7&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=Buffer
Hayes, Margaret Calder. Three Alexander Calders: A Family Memoir. Middlebury, VT: Paul S. Eriksson, 1977. Print.
Hundley, Jessica. Alexander Calder: Man of the Mobile. Kaufman Mercantile. 4 September 1010. Image. 17 August 2013. http://kaufmann-mercantile.com/alexander-calder/ Calder’s Studio on the Rue de la Colonie, Paris, 1931, Photo by Marc Vaux
Marter, Joan. ‘The Legacy of Alexander Calder.’ Sculpture 17:6 (1998). 17 August 2013 http://www.sculpture.org/documents/scmag98/calder/sm-caldr.shtml
Marter, Joan. ‘Alexander Calder’s Stabiles: Monumental Public Sculpture in America.’ American Art Journal 11:3 (1979). JSTOR. 17 August 2013.
Mondrian, Piet. Composition C (No.III) with Red, Yellow and Blue. 1935. Tate Museum, London, England. Long term loan from a private collector. 17 August 2013 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/mondrian-composition-c-noiii-with-red-yellow-and-blue-l00097
National Gallery of Art. ‘Alexander Calder: 1898-1976.’ National Gallery of Art. 2008. Web. 17 August 2013 http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/calder/realsp/roomenter-foyer.htm