Alexander Calder (1898 – 1976, American)

Alexander Calder, 1952Alexander Calder (1898 – 1976, American) is considered to be one of the world’s most important 20th century sculptors. Born into a family of successful artists, his father was a well-known sculptor and his mother a professional portrait artist, Calder was adept at mathematics and studied mechanical engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.  It was only after he graduated that he started his pursuit of painting. However, he used his mathematical talent to gain notoriety for his wire mobiles and sculptures. Calder had the gift of making abstract art move. In 1926, Calder moved to Paris and enrolled in the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, and established a studio in the Montparnasse quarter. Calder met several avant-garde artists during this time such as Fernand Leger and Marcel Duchamp.  In 1937, Calder was allowed to exhibit a Mercury Fountain in the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris World’s Fair. It was placed right next to Picasso’s Guernica and was quite a success.

Instead of paints and canvas, Calder always carried wire and pliers to create designs by ‘drawing in space’. Red was Calder’s favorite color and most of his works are in basic red, black and white. His mobiles and sculptures of cats are whimsical and playful. Undoubtedly, he liked cats and studied their behavior.

Calder’s works are readily seen all over the world, especially his large sculptures. Museums such as the Whitney and the Museum of Modern Art in New York have a large selection.

Jean-Paul Sartre said of Calder’s mobiles: “The forces at work are too numerous and complicated for any human mind, even that of their creator, to be able to foresee all their combinations. For each of them Calder establishes a general fated course of movement, then abandons them to it: time, sun, heat and wind will determine each particular dance.”

Just after opening a retrospective of his life’s work at The Whitney Museum in New York in 1976, Calder died of a heart attack.


Alexander Calder, Cat Mobile, 1966

Cat Mobile, 1966




The Rattle Cat, Alexander Calder, 1969

The Rattle Cat, 1969




Cat, Bronz, Alexander Calder

Cat, Bronze 




Cat Sculpture




Alexander Calder, Cat Lamp, 1928

Cat Lamp, 1928




Alexander Calder, Bird and Cat

Bird and Cat




Alexander Calder, Cats and an Elephant

Cats and an Elephant




A Thoughtful Eye, 1925

A Thoughtful Eye, 1925




Alexander Calder, Book on Animal Sketching-Cats

Book on Animal Sketching-Cats




Alexander Calder American, 1898-1976 - To Mary Reynolds Who Loved Cats, 1955 (Pen and black ink on white wove paper)

To Mary Reynolds Who Loved Cats, 1955 (Pen and black ink on white wove paper)



Alexander Calder (American, 1898–1976) - Mary Reynolds with Her Cats.

Mary Reynolds with Her Cats.


Want to know more about the cat in art, history and literature? Then Revered and Reviled is the book for you. Now available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. 


Revered and Reviled: A Complete History of the Domestic Cat, cat history, cats




Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2018 Laura Vocelle

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: