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Calder found he enjoyed working with wire for his circus.
He soon began to sculpt from this material many portraits of his friends and public figures of the day.
Paper costumes for A Nightmare Side Show, one of thirteen group processions performed during Paper Ball: Le Cirque des Chiffonniers, First Hartford Festival, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut, 15 February 1936 Standing, left to right: André Masson, Kay Sage, and Calder; sitting, left to right: André Breton, Susanna Perkins Hare, Louisa Calder, Rose Masson, Diego Masson, Charlie Prescott, Mary Calder, and Teeny Matisse, Roxbury, 1941 Alexander Calder was born in 1898, the second child of artist parents—his father was a sculptor and his mother a painter.
Because his father, Alexander Stirling Calder, received public commissions, the family traversed the country throughout Calder's childhood.
In the fall of 1931, a significant turning point in Calder's artistic career occurred when he created his first truly kinetic sculpture and gave form to an entirely new type of art. At that time, on Euclid Avenue in Pasadena, I got my first tools and was given the cellar with its window as a workshop. My workshop became some sort of a center of attention; everybody came in.
The first of these objects moved by systems of cranks and motors, and were dubbed "mobiles" by Marcel Duchamp—in French mobile refers to both "motion" and "motive." Calder soon abandoned the mechanical aspects of these works when he realized he could fashion mobiles that would undulate on their own with the air's currents. Portfolio of lithographs by Calder, Chillida, Guinovart, Miró, Ràfols-Casamada, Tàpies, Vedova, Viladecans. Mother and father were all for my efforts to build things myself—they approved of the homemade . (Calder 1966, 21) 1 January: Calder attends Pasadena's Tournament of Roses, where he experiences the four-horse chariot races.
In October of 1930, Calder visited the studio of Piet Mondrian in Paris and was deeply impressed by a wall of colored paper rectangles that Mondrian continually repositioned for compositional experiments. But my grandfather Milne’s birthday was on August 23, so there might have been a little confusion.
He recalled later in life that this experience "shocked" him toward total abstraction. Produced, directed, and written by Robert Pierce; narrated by Lary Lewman; production manager, Mark Muheim, assistant camera/sound, Zack Krieger. Thirteen/WNET and Florentine Films/Roger Sherman Pictures, New York. Produced and directed by Roger Sherman; written by Thomas Mc Namee; narrated by Tovan Feldshuh, music by Teese Gohl. Produced by Zadig Productions, Calder Foundation, Centre Pompidou, Sloo Films, and France 5. Directed by François Levy-Kuentz; written by Stephan and François Levy-Kuentz; narration by Mathieu Almaric and Paul Bandey; music by Louis Sclavis. Produced and commissioned by the Calder Foundation, New York, in collaboration with Victoria Brooks. In 1942, when I wrote the Philadelphia City Hall for a birth certificate, I sent them a dollar and they told me I was born on the twenty-second of July, 1898.
This exhibition was soon followed by others in New York, Paris, and Berlin; as a result, Calder spent much time crossing the ocean by boat.
Despite his talents, Calder did not originally set out to become an artist.
He instead enrolled at the Stevens Institute of Technology after high school and graduated in 1919 with an engineering degree.
Calder's renderings of his circus often lasted about two hours and were quite elaborate.
Indeed, the predated performance art by forty years.
Calder's earliest attempts at large, outdoor sculptures were also constructed in this decade. The duck is kinetic, rocking back and forth when tapped.