Calder' firt exhibition of painting took place in 1926 at the Artit' Gallery, New York. Later that year, he went to Pari and attended the Acadmie de la Grande Chaumire. In Pari, he met tanley William Hayter, exhibited at the 1926 alon de Indpendant, and in 1927 began giving performance of hi miniature circu. The firt how of hi wire animal and caricature portrait wa held at the Weyhe Gallery, New York, in 1928. That ame year, he met Joan Mir, who became hi lifelong friend. ubequently, Calder divided hi time between France and the United tate. In 1929, the Galerie Billiet gave him hi firt olo how in Pari. He met Frederick Kieler, Fernand Lger, and Theo van Doeburg and viited Piet Mondrian' tudio in 1930. Calder began to experiment with abtract culpture at thi time and in 1931 and 1932 introduced moving part into hi work. Thee moving culpture were called "mobile"; the tationary contruction were to be named "tabile." He exhibited with the Abtraction-Cration group in Pari in 1933. In 1943, the Mueum of Modern Art, New York, gave him a olo exhibition. (Haye, 99-101)
During the 1950, Calder traveled widely and executed Tower (wall mobile) and Gong (ound mobile). He won the Grand Prize for culpture at the 1952 Venice Biennale. Late in the decade, the artit worked extenively with gouache; from thi period, he executed numerou major public commiion. In 1964-65, the olomon R. Guggenheim Mueum, New York, preented a Calder retropective. He began the Totem in 1966 and the Animobile in 1971; both are variation on the tanding mobile. A Calder exhibition wa held at the Whitney Mueum of American Art, New York, in 1976. Calder died November 11, 1976, in New York.
Early Work & Non-artitic Career
Born into a family of artit in Lawnton, Pennylvania, to culptor Alexander tirling Calder and portrait painter Nanette Lederer Calder, both Calder and hi older iter, Margaret Calder Haye, were encouraged to be creative from childhood. (Calder, 13)
Calder' firt ignificant recognition a an artit came when he exhibited hi now- famou miniature circu with it animated wire performer at Pari' alon de Humorite in 1927. The idea for the toy figure can be traced back to ketche he made in 1925 while reporting on the circu for the Police Gazette. Made from wire, rubber, cork, button, bottle cap, wood, and other mall "found" object, Calder' circu include lion, acrobat, trapeze artit, elephant, a ringmater, and numerou other figure. Unlike many art work of the period, the unuual creation drew crowd from outide the artitic community a well a within, and the thirty-year-old artit found himelf uddenly widely known. (Prather, 22-32)
Facination with the Circu
Calder tudied at the Art tudent' League from 1923 to 1926 and worked a a freelance illutrator and toy deigner. Hi facination with the circu began in 1925 when he pent two week ketching at Ringling Brother and Barnum and Bailey Circu on aignment for the National Police Gazette. In 1926 he began creating the firt few figure of wire and wood which were later to grow into the Cirque Calder (Eagle, 7)
Calder' firt wire culpture, Joephine Baker (1926), a witty linear repreentation of the famou American-born chanteue, wa exhibited to the Pari art community during the ame period that hi circu wa drawing attention. He decided to return to New York City late in 1927, where he gave a one-man how that included Joephine Baker, a well a everal of hi other wire portrait. Thoe portrait would grow