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Alexander Calder
Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder (August 22, 1898 – November 11, 1976) is an American artist and sculptor known as the originator of the mobile, a type of moving sculpture made with delicately balanced or suspended shapes that move in response to touch or air currents. Calder’s monumental stationary sculptures are known as mobiles. He also produced wire figures, which are like drawings made in three dimensional space, and notably a miniature circus work that was both created and performed by the artist.

Alexander Calder
Cirque Calder

Alexander Calder (1898-1976) is an American sculptor, painter and inventor of the mobile (a type of suspended moving sculpture with independently moving parts responsive to wind). His current exhibition at the Tate Modern in London entitled 'Performing Sculpture' is a retrospective collection of his paintings, moving wall-mounted sculptures, wire portrait sculptures as well as infamous mobiles. Andipa is proud to include works by Alexander Calder available in our private collection.

During his time in Paris, where he enrolled at the Académie de la Grande Chaumiere from 1926-1933, Calder constructed a toy theatre based on the classic Big Top Circus of the time. The work featured a full circus ring (137.2 × 239.4 × 239.4 cm), with a ringmaster and a multitude of performing models including contortionists, sword eaters, trapeze artists and lion tamers.

Each performing piece and as well as all the moving parts of the circus were handmade by the artist, mostly out of wire, wood and cloth. With over 200 live performances on both sides of the Atlantic, Cirque Calder became a popular event for the artistic avant-garde of the time and many contemporaries like Fernand Léger and Marcel Duchamp enjoyed Calder’s improvised performances.

In this video by The Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), where Calder’s circus remains in permanent the collection, conservators explore the dynamic sculptures and address the challenges of restoring and preserving his work.