Modern Design with – Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder (1898-1976) changed the art world by introducing movement into sculpture. As a small child he collected scraps of copper wire to make jewelry for his sister's dolls. The son and grandson of sculptors, at ten he had sculpted a three-dimensional dog and a duck out of sheet brass as gifts for his parents. The duck was his first kinetic attempt - it rocked when gently tapped. A mechanical engineering student before committing to art, Calder joined the artist scene in Paris in the late 20’s where he began to make whimsical toys, culminating in his mechanical miniature circus - Cirque Calder. His three-dimensional use of wire in creating sculptures of animals, people, and objects led to his most well known creation, the “mobile.” These pieces feature balanced, connected rods holding thin, often colorful metal attachments that float and turn into different shapes propelled by the air moving past them. Calder said, "Just as one can compose colors, or forms, so one can compose motions.” In addition to his mobiles, Calder constructed many ”stabiles” as his often large, outdoor static sculptures were called. He was also a painter, theatrical set designer, costumer, and continued his jewelry making throughout his life, using his first artist’s tool, a pair of pliers. More about Calder here.