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Alexander Calder

Artist / Sculptor

Born: 22 July 1898
Died: 11 November 1976
Birthplace: Lawnton, Pennsylvania
Best known as: The abstract artist who originated the mobile
Alexander "Sandy" Calder was an abstract painter and sculptor famous for working in wire and originating the dangling, moving artworks known as mobiles. Alexander Calder grew up in a family of artists, but he began his career by studying mechanical engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey between 1915 and 1919. He studied art in New York in the early 1920s and spent seven years in Paris, where he hobnobbed with other artists and created La Cirque Calder. In this "circus" he performed with small wire sculptures and ingenious mechanical devices for avant-garde audiences. His hanging wire sculptures were dubbed "mobiles" by French painter Marcel Duchamp in 1932, and Calder called his later, static sculptures "stabiles." Later in his career, Calder worked on large-scale public works and earned a reputation as a major influence on modern sculpture. His 50-ton red abstract stabile in Chicago's Federal Square, titled 'Flamingo,' is one of his most famous public works.
Extra credit: Alexander Calder's mother was painter Nanette Lederer Calder, and his father and grandfather were sculptors Alexander Stirling Calder and Alexander Mine Calder.

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