African head

Alexander Calder American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 911

In the United States, the popularity of the direct carving technique coincided with a growing appreciation of African and pre-Columbian art. Influenced by these works, Calder started to use this method while living in New York in 1928 and preferred to carve his sculptures out of tropical woods such as lignum vitae, cocobolo, rosewood, and ebony. Explaining his working process, Calder later recalled, "Then I made things in wood, taking a lump of wood and making very little alternation in its shape—just enough to turn it into something different."

African head, Alexander Calder (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1898–1976 New York), Wood

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