Untitled (Maquette)

Alexander Calder American

Not on view

In 1936, Alexander Calder began developing maquettes as guides for his outdoor sculptures. These modest forms executed in painted sheet metal would serve as the template for his larger static sculptures, known as "stabiles." Once Calder completed a maquette, he would oversee its enlargement, and he was very particular about the number of works that could be created from a single maquette. Though the maquettes would serve the function of being the first stage of the production process towards a monumental outdoor sculpture, Calder considered them as sculptures in their own right. Untitled is an elegant form, with a rectilinear base from which two graceful curving metal vectors extend outwards, suggesting movement and dynamism, hallmarks of Calder’s aesthetic. It is a delicately balanced open composition, and while abstract, Untitled could lend itself to being perceived as having some anthropomorphic features. Dating from 1957, it hails from a period in the practice when Calder had more or less committed himself to large scale sculptures and commissions, he himself noting in 1960 that "There’s been an agrandissement in my work. It’s true I’ve more or less retired from the smaller mobiles."

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