Alexander Calder: The Paris Years, 1926-1933 (Whitney Museum of American Art)

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9780300126228: Alexander Calder: The Paris Years, 1926-1933 (Whitney Museum of American Art)

In 1926, Alexander Calder (1898 1976) moved from New York to Paris and began to use time and motion as "materials" for animating line and space. Calder’s years in Paris an understudied part of the artist’s career is the focus of this marvelous publication.

 

A team of international scholars discusses Calder’s many innovations of this period, chief among them his abstract, motorized, and mobile works. They analyze the extended cast of Calder’s animated Circus, made in Paris between 1926 and 1931, and include previously unpublished photographs by Brassaï and Kertesz of Calder and this beloved performative sculpture. The essays critically explore the intellectual, cultural, and artistic milieu of Paris in the late 1920s and early 1930s and the contexts of Calder’s friendships with Miró, Mondrian, Duchamp, and Man Ray, among others. What emerges in this fascinating book is a nuanced and detailed understanding of how Calder’s distinctive career first took flight.

 

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About the Author:

Joan Simon is curator at large for the Whitney Museum of American Art. She is the author of William Wegman: Funney/Strange (Yale), among many other publications on contemporary artists. Brigitte Léal is curator of historic collections at the Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and the author of many books on modern art.

From Publishers Weekly:

Calder, who arrived in Paris in 1926 as an Ashcan School realist painter with a degree in engineering, came into his own there as a central figure of the Modern movement. He became known in avant-garde circles for his wire figures and portraits (many represented here), toys and jewelry. Between 1926 and 1931, he built the 70 figures that compose Calder's Circus, which he displayed through 1961. A visit to Piet Mondrian's studio in 1930 provided a shock that started the abstract explorations that led to the mobiles for which he is best known. Simon and Leal, curators respectively at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Pompidou Center, collect eight essays in this catalogue for an exhibition opening in October at the Whitney; the writings examine Calder as illustrator, surrealist and abstractionist. His Circus is examined in depth by Eleonora Nagy, its conservator, and Henry Petroski, who looking at Calder's engineering background likens the Circus in performance to the workings of an internal combustion engine. Both art professionals and the artist's many fans will find much to appreciate here. 235 color and 87 b&w illus. (Sept.)
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