National Gallery of Art: Art for the 
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Vertical Constellation with Bomb Alexander Calder  

Vertical Constellation with Bomb by Alexander 
Alexander Calder, Vertical Constellation with Bomb, 1943, painted steel wire, painted wood, and wood, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls 1996.120.8



The Series (1941-1943)

Alexander Calder invented mobiles, sculpture that moved, in the early 1930s. Later, he added large-scale stabiles, fixed sculpture. During World War II, Calder created the Constellations series. The pieces are motionless, like stabiles, yet airy, like mobiles. Many, for example Vertical Constellation with Bomb, rest on a flat surface, but some Constellations are mounted from the wall at an angle. Generally, they are composed of small abstract forms carved from wood that are carefully arranged in three dimensions. The materials are either painted or left unfinished.

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