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Vertical Constellation with Bomb Alexander Calder  
       

Calder performing the Cirque Calder, from the film Mobile, by Alexander Calder, © 1980, National Gallery of Art, Washington, © 2000 Estate of Alexander Calder/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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The Circus

Calder's first commission as an artist came in the spring of 1924, when he was asked to draw illustrations for the National Police Gazette. In the spring of 1925, his assignment was the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. For two weeks, he spent almost every waking hour sketching what he saw. The experience had long-lasting impact, providing years of material for his creative work. His fascination with the circus culminated in the Cirque Calder (Calder Circus), a witty performance with carefully constructed miniature wire characters. Calder performed it many times from the mid-1920s into the late 1930s, and occasionally afterward, both for friends and the public in Paris and New York.



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