Alexander Calder's invention of the mobile (a term that Marcel Duchamp coined to describe these new kinetic sculptures) resonated with early Conceptual and Constructivist art as well as the language of early abstract painting. Flat, abstract shapes made in steel, boldly painted in a restricted primary palette, black or white, hang in perfect balance from wires. While the latent energy and dynamism of the mobiles remained of primary interest to Calder throughout his life, he also created important standing sculptures, which Jean Arp named “stabiles” to distinguish them from their ethereal kinetic counterparts. These works reject the weight and solidity of sculptural mass, yet displace space in a three–dimensional manner while remaining linear, open, planar, and suggestive of motion.
Alexander Calder was born in 1898 in, Lawnton, Pennsylvania, and died in 1976 in New York. He received his B.S. in 1919 from Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken. From 1923 to 1925, Calder attended the Art Students League, New York, and in 1926, he attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris. Calder's public commissions are on view in cities all over the world and his work has been the subject of numerous museum exhibitions, including the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (1998, traveled to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California); The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (1998–99); Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford (2000); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2000); Iwaki City Art Museum, Japan (2000, traveled to The Museum of Modern Art, Japan; Hokkaido Obihiro Museum of Art, Japan; The Museum of Art, Japan; Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum, Japan; Nagoya City Art Museum, Japan); Storm King Art Center, New York (2001–03); Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (2003, traveled to Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, through 2004); Foundation Beyeler, Switzerland (2004, traveled to Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., through 2005); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California (2013); Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (2014); Fondation Beyeler, Basel (2014); Museo Jumex, Mexico City (2015); and Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Saint Louis (2015).
Extended through August 29, 2014
June 10–August 29, 2014
Davies Street, London
Behind the Art
Alexander Calder: Flying Dragon
In this video, Gagosian director Serena Cattaneo Adorno celebrates the installation of Alexander Calder’s monumental sculpture Flying Dragon (1975) in Paris at Place Vendôme, detailing the process and importance of this ambitious project.
The Art History of Presidential Campaign Posters
Against the backdrop of the 2020 US presidential election, historian Hal Wert takes us through the artistic and political evolution of American campaign posters, from their origin in 1844 to the present. In an interview with Quarterly editor Gillian Jakab, Wert highlights an array of landmark posters and the artists who made them.
An Alphabetical Guide to Calder and Dance
Jed Perl takes a look at Alexander Calder’s lifelong fascination with dance and its relationship to his reimagining of sculpture.
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2020
The Summer 2020 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Joan Jonas’s Mirror Piece 1 (1969) on its cover.
The New World of Charlotte Perriand
Inspired by a visit to the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s exhibition Charlotte Perriand: Inventing a New World, William Middleton explores the life of this modernist pioneer and her impact on the worlds of design, art, and architecture.
Calder: Sculpting A Life
The first authorized biography of Alexander Calder was published this past fall. Biographer Jed Perl and Alexander “Sandy” S. C. Rower, president of the Calder Foundation, discuss the genesis of the book, the nature of genius, and preview what’s to come in the second volume with the Quarterly’s Wyatt Allgeier.
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2018
The Spring 2018 Gagosian Quarterly with a cover by Ed Ruscha is now available for order.
Alexander Calder: Gouaches
While Alexander Calder is regarded as the originator of mobile art works, his works on paper exhibit a mastery of two-dimensional abstraction. With a show of his gouaches closing in the Davies Street, London gallery, Derek Blasberg celebrates some of the artist’s pieces that didn’t require a welding helmet.
Flying Dragon, 1975
October 19, 2021–March 20, 2022
Place Vendôme, Paris
Alexander Calder’s monumental sculpture Flying Dragon (1975) will be on view at Place Vendôme in Paris beginning October 19. The installation marks the opening of Gagosian’s new gallery at rue de Castiglione and is part of FIAC Hors les Murs, which presents artworks in emblematic public spaces throughout the city.
Flying Dragon (1975)—which exemplifies Calder’s capacity to invest a powerful visual dynamism in his work regardless of scale—is among the last of the monumental works he made. While static, the striking sculpture transforms when viewed from different angles. Constructed from sheet metal, it is physically weighty but appears delicate due to its limited points of contact with the ground.
Alexander Calder, Flying Dragon, 1975, installation view, Place Vendôme, Paris © 2021 Calder Foundation, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Thomas Lannes
Gagosian Announces New Paris Gallery
Gagosian is pleased to announce the opening of a new location in Paris in October 2021. Situated at 9 rue de Castiglione, in the 1st arrondissement, the space is part of the historic Hotel Lotti development, built in 1910. The location is steps from Place Vendôme, where Leo Castelli and René Drouin opened the storied Drouin Gallery in 1939, and within walking distance of the Musée du Louvre, Musée de l’Orangerie, and Musée d’Orsay.
The exterior of Gagosian’s new gallery at 9 rue de Castiglione, Paris. Photo: Thomas Lannes
October 17–20, 2019, booth B33
Grand Palais, Paris
Gagosian is pleased to participate in FIAC 2019 with Artists on the French Riviera, a special presentation that explores twentieth-century artistic life on the Côte d’Azur. On display are works by Alexander Calder, Jean Cocteau, Alberto Giacometti, Yves Klein, Fernand Léger, Man Ray, Henri Matisse, Francis Picabia, Pablo Picasso, and Edward Quinn, among others.
Jean Cocteau in front of one of the several murals he painted on the walls of Francine Weisweiller’s Villa Santo Sospir, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France, 1954. Photo: Edward Quinn
Through January 8, 2023
Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago
Revisiting classic modernist ideas about flatness, idealized form, and colors, this exhibition opens up the seemingly reductive format of the monochrome to reveal its global resonance and creative possibilities while working toward a more expansive narrative of twentieth and twenty-first century art. Work by Alexander Calder, Walter De Maria, Helen Frankenthaler, Theaster Gates, Frank Gehry, Sally Mann, and Richard Serra is included.
Sally Mann, The Bath, 1989 © Sally Mann
Autos, Art, Architecture
April 8–September 18, 2022
Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain
Motion. Autos, Art, Architecture celebrates the artistic dimension of the automobile and links it to the parallel worlds of painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, and film. The exhibition brings together nearly forty automobiles that are placed center stage in the galleries and surrounded by significant works of art and architecture. Work by Alexander Calder, Christo, Andreas Gursky, Ed Ruscha, and Andy Warhol is included.
Installation view, Motion. Autos, Art, Architecture, Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain, April 8–September 18, 2022. Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Photo: courtesy Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
America. Entre rêves et réalités
La collection du Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Collection
June 9–September 11, 2022
Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Canada
Featuring more than a hundred paintings, photographs, sculptures, and video works drawn from the permanent collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, this exhibition, whose title translates to America. Between Dreams and Realities, offers a broad overview of modern and contemporary American art. Organized thematically, it looks carefully and critically at the notion of the American dream and uncovers how artists have variously grappled with questions of identity, the challenges of globalization, the realities of everyday life in America, and the complexities of its technological and political revolutions. Work by Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Sally Mann, Man Ray, Brice Marden, Nam June Paik, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, and Mary Weatherford is included.
Mary Weatherford, Engine, 2014, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio
Textiles de Artistas
March 12–June 19, 2022
Fundacíon Barrié, A Coruña, Spain
This exhibition explores the history of twentieth-century art through fabrics designed by artists, with unique examples from artistic movements such as Fauvism, Cubism, Surrealism, and Pop art. Comprised of more than one hundred works, the show presents an important overview of weaving as a popular art form in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Europe. Work by Alexander Calder, Damien Hirst, Howard Hodgkin, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, Sterling Ruby, and Andy Warhol is included.