Alexander Calder (1898–1976) came from a family of accomplished Philadelphia artists. His interests, however, veered more toward mechanical devices, and he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from the Stevens Institute of Technology (New Jersey) in 1919. In 1923 he enrolled at the famed Art Students League in New York, where he studied painting with John Sloan and George Luks. His first illustrated book, Animal Sketching (1926), derived from studies made at the Bronx and Central Park zoos.
In 1927 Calder went to Paris to study art. He started fashioning small wood and wire animals with movable parts and soon had assembled a hand-operated miniature circus. The Parisian avant-garde flocked to performances of Calder’s Circus, and he joined their circle. Inspired by a visit to