Calder was born in 1898 in Philadelphia to a family of artists. His interest in making objects developed at an early age: he fashioned his own toys and made small animal sculptures from brass sheet for his parents (as in Duck and Dog). After graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering, Calder decided, in 1923, to become a painter and enrolled at the Art Students League in New York. His first paintings, mostly New York street scenes, reflect the realist approach of his teachers, including John Sloan.
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