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Vertical Constellation with Bomb Alexander Calder  

Vertical Constellation with Bomb (detail) by 
Alexander Calder
Alexander Calder, Vertical Constellation with Bomb (detail), 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 war affected Calder's work in a number of ways. To preserve sheet metal, which was needed for the war effort, Calder decided to return to wood carving. In the Constellations, taut wires link the wooden forms and infuse the work with tension. Calder was wary of symbolic interpretations of his art, and he was known for avoiding discussions regarding theory or concept. Still, he recounts feeling uneasy when he finally saw the series installed at the Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, in 1943. "In the constellations nothing moved, and it was a very weird sensation I experienced, looking at a show of mine where nothing moved."

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