Alexander Calder revolutionized the art of sculpture by making movement one of its main components. Yet his invention of the "mobile" -- a word coined in 1931 by artist Marcel Duchamp to designate Calder's moving sculpture -- was only one of Calder's achievements. In his early wire figures and in his "stabiles," static sculptures in sheet metal, Calder created innovative works by exploring the aesthetic possibilities of untraditional materials. As a major contribution to the development of abstract art, Calder's stabiles and mobiles challenged the prevailing notion of sculpture as a composition of masses and volumes by proposing a new definition based on the ideas of open space and transparency. With the giant stabiles of the latter part of his career, Calder launched a new type of public sculpture -- one which proved so successful that many of these works have become landmarks in cities around the globe.
This exhibition commemorating the centenary of Calder's birth brings
together over 260 works, with sculpture, paintings, drawings, and jewelry
drawn from his entire career. In small handmade objects as well as in
monumental sculptures, Calder metamorphosed every material with humor and
ingenuity. Whether twisting wire, carving pieces of wood, or cutting shapes
from sheets of metal, he invested each work with an unexpected poetry.
Copyright © 2008 National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC