Giacometti 1

Alexander Calder (1898-1976) in his studio in 1973 © Photo Researchers / Alamy

Calder: Twelve Works

Location: Second-floor gallery On View: October 2, 2014 – February 18, 2015

One of the most celebrated American artists, Alexander Calder is renowned for his mobiles and monumental sculptures but he also created paintings, lithographs, jewelry and other works. The exhibition Calder: Twelve Works goes beyond his signature mobiles and sculptures to provide a look at the artist’s softer side.

This exhibition showcases the Calder works in the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art collection and includes a gouache, a tapestry and several prints. The centerpiece of Calder: Twelve Works is a series of seven prints from the artist book Fêtes (Festivals). Created in 1971, the book was a collaboration with French poet Jacques Prévert. Like many of Calder’s works, the prints in Fêtes show depth with saturated colors of yellow, blue, red and green and suggest movement.

Calder was born in 1898 outside Philadelphia. Both of his parents were artists. After studying engineering in college, Calder held a variety of jobs in that field before deciding to study painting at the Art Students League in New York.

In 1926, he moved to Paris where he formed friendships with Miró, Léger, Le Corbusier and other modern masters. Sculpture ultimately became Calder’s primary form of artistic expression. It wasn’t until the late 1940s and early 1950s that he turned to painting and other media. With these other forms, Calder discovered he could create the shapes of his imagination at will and with a freedom and swiftness that the technical process of sculpture did not allow.

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