Alexander Calder (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1898–1976 New York)
Painted aluminum, steel, steel rod, and wire
60 x 152 3/8in. (152.4 x 387.1cm)
Rogers Fund, 1942
Not on view
Alexander Calder was born to a family of sculptors. His grandfather, Alexander Milne Calder (1846-1923), studied with Thomas Eakins and is famous for the elaborate sculptural decorations of Philadelphia's City Hall. Calder himself had studied to be an engineer at the Stevens Institute of Technology before attending the Art Students League in New York. Like many aspiring artists of his generation, Calder then spent time in Paris where he was inspired by Joan Miró's work and absorbed the playfulness of Dada. Indeed, it was the French artist Marcel Duchamp who christened Calder's hanging sculptures "mobiles." For works such as this one, Calder cut sheet metal into various shapes and assembled these elements in a chain-linked system so that the flat metal pieces move in response to currents of air.
This particular mobile was included in the 1942 exhibition "Artists for Victory" at the Metropolitan where the sculpture committee awarded it a prize and recommended it be added to the collection.
the artist, Roxbury, Conn. (1941–42; sold to MMA)
Los Angeles. Design Project. "Alexander Calder, Mobiles, Stabiles, Jewelry; A Few Paintings by Paul Klee," September 27–October 27, 1941, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Artists for Victory: An Exhibition of Contemporary American Art," December 7, 1942–February 22, 1943, unnumbered cat. (p. 23; awarded a Fourth Prize).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "American Painting, 1754–1954," December 18, 1953–September 1954, no catalogue.
Mountainville, N. Y. Storm King Art Center. "20th Century Sculpture: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 18–October 31, 1984, unnum. brochure (dated 1942).
A. Hyatt Mayor. Artists for Victory: An Exhibition of Contemporary American Art. A Picture Book of the Prize Winners. New York, 1942, unpaginated, ill.
Howard Devree. "2 Centuries of Art in U.S. on Display." New York Times (December 18, 1953), p. 26.
Albert TenEyck Gardner. American Sculpture: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1965, pp. 170–71, ill.
David Collens in20th Century Sculpture: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. brochure, Storm King Art Center. [Mountainville, N. Y.], , unpaginated.
Lowery S. Sims in20th Century Sculpture: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. brochure, Storm King Art Center. [Mountainville, N. Y.], , unpaginated.