Introduction

Alexander Calder (American, 1898 – 1976) is America’s most famous Modern artist. Calder achieved worldwide renown for his brilliantly abstract and unquestionably striking works of art. Born in 1898 to a family of notable artists, Calder first worked as an engineer before deciding to pursue art as his profession. His style grew exceedingly abstract, inspired by the works of notable European Modernists (who were also his good friends). These included Joan Miro (Spanish, 1893 – 1983), Fernand Leger (French, 1881 – 1955), Piet Mondrian (Dutch, 1872 – 1944), and Jean Arp (German / French, 1886 – 1966). Calder’s works are held by the great museums of the world, like the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), the Guggenheim, the National Gallery of Art, and the Tate.

Photo of Alexander Calder by Carl van Vechten. 1947.

Calder’s Style and Practice

As Alexander Calder developed as an artist between the 1920s and 1940s, he increasingly felt drawn to abstractionCalder expressed this in bright colors and geometric forms, such as lines and shapes. Unlike many of his artistic peers, who likewise explored color and form, Calder also examined movement. In his sculptures deemed “mobiles”, Calder built sculptures of lines and shapes that would move with the air and the wind. When you walk into a room hosting a Calder mobile, it moves around in space. This provides another aspect of the work for the viewer to think about. Each work is ever changing, and will not appear the same way at all times. This changing, evolving side to Calder’s mobiles made his artwork the subject of intense artistic and even philosophical discussion.

Alexander Calder, "Red and Yellow among Blacks". 1974. Lithograph.

Calder, Master of Many Media

Alexander Calder was one of the rare artists who was a master of many media. Calder began as a painter, but became best known for his work as a sculptor of mobiles and stabiles. Stabiles are large, unmoving sculptures that the viewer interacts with by walking around or through. These are often the pride of major museums or displayed prominently as public art in cities worldwide. In addition to his mobiles and stabiles, Calder made sculptural drawings or sketches out of metal wire, creating artworks that appear like pencil sketches except in three dimensions(!). Calder also made jewelry, finding that his experimentations with wire sketches and mobile sculptures could be applied to silver and bronze jewelry just as well. Calder likewise designed ceramics, housewares, and even rugs (many of which were made by his wife, Louisa). Like many artists, Calder found wide distribution and commercial success with the production of prints of his two-dimensional works.

Alexander Calder, "Pyramids at Night". ca. 1970. Lithograph.

Calder’s Lithographs at Nest Egg Auctions

Nest Egg Auctions has experience selling the work of Alexander Calder, especially his lithographs. Calder’s lithographs show the artist’s desire to examine the seemingly simple concepts of form and color. As the viewer stays with the works, however, they find that there is much more to contemplate. In one lithograph entitled Pyramids at Night (1970), Calder shows pyramids in a landscape with circular forms laying on the ground. Why are these there? These two-dimensional circles are juxtaposed with the three-dimensional pyramids scattered around them. The seemingly simple geometry of the image is, thus, anything but simple. It creates an image for long aesthetic contemplation.

Selling Calder at Nest Egg Auctions

Nest Egg Auctions is always excited to sell the works of Alexander Calder, who had his home and studio in the town of Roxbury, in our home state of Connecticut. If you have a print by Alexander Calder, or a work of his in another medium, such as jewelry, ceramic, or sculpture, please send us a message. We would be happy to see it, and would love to sell it for you at auction.

Sell your Alexander Calder with NEA!

Have a work of art by Alexander Calder that you'd like to sell? Nest Egg Auctions would love to sell it for you for the highest price!

Further Reading

Jean Lipman, Calder’s Universe. New York, NY: Whitney Museum of American Art / Viking Press, 1976.