Alexander Calder: The Paris Years, 1926-1933

Overview

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 ...

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2008 Hardcover New 0300126220. Flawless copy, brand new, pristine, never opened-302 pp. With 300 ills. (280 col. ). 28 x 25 cm.

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Overview

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They analyze the extended cast of Calder’s animated Circus, made in Paris between 1926 and 1931, and include previously unpublished photographs by Brassaï and Kertesz of Calder and this beloved performative sculpture.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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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review - Steven Heller
"Smartly designed."—Steven Heller, New York Times Book Review
New York Times
"A chunky, charming catalog."—New York Times
American Style - Claire Patterson
"[This book] explores Calder's transformation into the artist we know today. The numerous essays reveal the many facets of his work, including commentary on 'Calder's Circus' and other wire sculpture 'portraits.'"—Claire Patterson, American Style
Art Times
"A comprehensive overview of Calder's formative years. Handsomely produced, lavishly illustrated and full of updated scholarship, this will surely serve as one of the definitive texts on the artist for some time to come."—Art Times
Choice
"Provides excellent reproductions [and] fine essays. . . . Highly recommended."—Choice
Steven Heller
…beautifully produced…This smartly designed book, including a half-dozen essays by writers like Henry Petroski and Annie Cohen-Solal, serves as the catalog for a new exhibition at the Whitney exploring Calder's evolution from a reportorial cartoonist to a cartoon sculptor using wire as his medium. In addition to new studio photographs of his art, vintage newspaper clippings and documentary images of early work abound. There are also rare shots of Calder as a svelte young man
—The New York Times
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.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300126228
  • Publisher: Whitney Museum of American Art
  • Publication date: 5/28/2008
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 9.76 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 1.42 (d)

Meet 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.

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