Balloons Rising

Alexander Calder

American, 1898-1976

Gouache on paper


Like his father and grandfather before him, Alexander Calder was a third-generation sculptor. He originally trained as an engineer before enrolling in the Arts Students League of New York in 1923 and moving into what he described as “the family business.”  

In 1930, Calder visited Piet Mondrian’s studio, an experience which he said “shocked him towards total abstraction.” Soon afterwards, he moved from painting to sculpture and began developing his mechanised sculptures, known as “mobiles”. The title of this work illustrates his preoccupation with movement.  

Throughout his career, Calder produced 22,000 artworks, almost all in red, blue, yellow, black and white, a reflection of Mondrian’s lasting influence upon him.  

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