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(after) Alexander Calder
Alexander Calder Circus Reproduction Lithograph After a Drawing




(after) Alexander Calder "Calder's Circus" offset lithograph on wove paper after drawings by the artist Published by Art in America and Perls gallery in 1964 (from drawings done in the 1930's) these range slightly in size but they are all about 13 X 17 inches (with minor variations in size as issued.) These have never been framed. The outer folio is not included just the one lithograph. James Sweeny from the introduction “The fame of Calder’s circus spread quickly between the years 1927 and 1930. All the Paris art world came to know it. It brought him his first great personal success. But what was more important, the circus also provided the first steps in Calder’s development as an original sculptor” Clive Gray wrote ”A visit to the studio of Alexander Calder led to the chance discovery of some hundred masterful circus drawings completed over thirty years ago. We publish, for the first time, a choice of sixteen from that group.” With signed introduction by Miro. These whimsical drawings, done in the style of wire sculpture, include acrobats, clowns, jugglers, trapeeze artists, an elephant, dog and lion. they are great. Alexander Calder is widely considered to be one of the most important American sculptors of the 20th century. He is best known for his colorful, whimsical abstract public sculptures and his innovative mobiles, kinetic sculptures powered by motors or air currents, which embraced chance in their aesthetic. Born into a family of accomplished artists, Calder's work first gained attention in Paris in the 1930s and was soon championed by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, resulting in a retrospective exhibition in 1943. Major retrospectives were also held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1964) and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1974). Calder’s work is in many permanent collections, most notably in the Whitney Museum of American Art, but also the Guggenheim Museum; the Museum of Modern Art; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Centre Georges Pompidou. He produced many large public works, including .125 (at JFK Airport, 1957), Pittsburgh (Carnegie International prize winner 1958, Pittsburgh International Airport) Spirale (UNESCO in Paris, 1958), Flamingo and Universe (both in Chicago, 1974), and Mountains and Clouds (Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C., 1976). Although primarily known for his sculpture, Calder was a prodigious artist with a restless creative spirit, whose diverse practice included painting and printmaking, miniatures (such as his famous Cirque Calder), children’s book illustrations, theater set design, jewelry design, tapestry and rug works, and political posters. Calder was honored by the US Postal Service with a set of five 32-cent stamps in 1998, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, posthumously in 1977, after refusing to receive it from Gerald Ford one year earlier in protest of the Vietnam War. Calder moved to New York and enrolled at the Art Students League, studying briefly with Thomas Hart Benton, George Luks, Kenneth Hayes Miller, and John Sloan. While a student, he worked for the National Police Gazette where, in 1925, one of his assignments was sketching the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Calder became fascinated with the action of the circus, a theme that would reappear in his later work. In 1926, Calder moved to Paris, enrolled in the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, and established a studio at 22 rue Daguerre in the Montparnasse Quarter. In June 1929, while traveling by boat from Paris to New York, Calder met his future wife, Louisa James (1905-1996), grandniece of author Henry James and philosopher William James. They married in 1931. While in Paris, Calder met and became friends with a number of avant-garde artists, including Fernand Léger, Jean Arp, and Marcel Duchamp. Cirque Calder (on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art at present) became popular with the Parisian avant-garde. He also invented wire sculpture, or "drawing in space," and in 1929 he had his first solo show of these sculptures in Paris at Galerie Billiet. Hi! (Two Acrobats) in the collection of the Honolulu Museum of Art is an early example of the artist's wire sculpture. The painter Jules Pascin, a friend of Calder's from the cafes of Montparnasse, wrote the preface to the catalog. A visit to Piet Mondrian's studio in 1930, where he was impressed by the environment-as-installation, "shocked" him into fully embracing abstract art, toward which he had already been tending. Dating from 1931, Calder’s sculptures of discrete movable parts powered by motors were christened “mobiles” by Marcel Duchamp, a French pun meaning both "motion" and "motive." At the same time, Calder was also experimenting with self-supporting, static, abstract sculptures, dubbed "stabiles" by Jean Arp in 1932 to differentiate them from mobiles. Public commissions increasingly came his way in the 1960s. Notable examples are .125 for JFK Airport in 1957, Spirale for UNESCO in Paris 1958 and Trois disques, commissioned for Expo 67 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Calder's largest sculpture at 25.7 meters high was El Sol Rojo, constructed outside the Aztec Stadium for the 1968 Summer Olympics "Cultural Olympiad" events in Mexico City. Many of his public works were commissioned by renowned architects; I.M. Pei commissioned his La Grande Voile (1966), a 25-ton, 40-foot high stabile for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Part of Calder's repertoire includes pivotal stage sets for more than a dozen theatrical productions, including Nucléa, Horizon, and most notably, Martha Graham’s Panorama (1935), a production of the Erik Satie symphonic drama Socrate (1936), and later, Works in Progress (1968). In addition to sculptures, Calder painted throughout his career, beginning in the early 1920s. He picked up his study of printmaking in 1925, and continued to produce illustrations for books and journals.As Calder’s professional reputation expanded in the late 1940s and 1950s, so did his production of prints. Masses of lithographs based on his gouache paintings hit the market, and deluxe editions of plays, poems, and short stories illustrated with fine art prints by Calder became available for sale. One of Calder's most celebrated and unconventional undertakings was a commission from Dallas-based Braniff International Airways to paint a full-size Douglas DC-8-62 four-engined jet as a "flying canvas." Calder created over 2,000 pieces of jewelry over the course of his career, many of them as gifts for friends and relatives. For his lifelong friend Joan Miró, he set a shard of a broken porcelain vessel in a brass ring. Peggy Guggenheim received enormous silver mobile earrings and later commissioned a hammered silver headboard that shimmered with dangling fish. In 1942, Guggenheim wore one Calder earring and one by Yves Tanguy to the opening of her New York gallery, The Art of This Century, to demonstrate her equal loyalty to Surrealist and abstract art, examples of which she displayed in separate galleries. Others who were presented with Calder's pieces were the artist's close friend, Georgia O'Keeffe; Teeny Duchamp, wife of Marcel Duchamp; Jeanne Rucar, wife of the filmmaker Luis Buñuel; and Bella Rosenfeld, wife of Marc Chagall. Calder's work is in many permanent collections across the world. The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, has the largest body of work by Alexander Calder. Other important museum collections include the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.


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