Alexander Calder - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session New York Thursday, May 19, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Executed in 1925, this group of drawings provides a glimpse into Alexander Calder’s early days as an artist, and specifically showcases his playful creativity. Dogs, and other animals, were a central subject in Calder’s body of work. In the winter of 1925, Calder would spend days in the Central Park and Bronx Zoos, creating brush drawings of animals. Originally gifted by the artist to Jane Davenport Harris de Tomasi, a close friend of the artist’s family, the present works have since remained in the same private collection since they were acquired over two decades ago. Some of them were created as preparatory drawings for the poem The P-CULIAR DOG or The Piddling Pup, written by Elmer E. Scott and published in New York in 1925. This was Calder’s first illustrated book, and a precursor to his famous Animal Sketching manual published a year later. This unique group of works on paper together illustrates a theme he explored throughout his career and later renowned sculptures, in a fun and peculiar way.

    • Provenance

      Jane Davenport Harris de Tomasi, New York (gifted by the artist)
      Private Collection, New York (by descent from the above)
      Christie’s, New York, November 17, 1988, lot 242
      Private Collection, Paris
      Sotheby’s Arcade Auction, New York, February 16, 1999, lots 238, 243, 247
      Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

    • Artist Biography

      Alexander Calder

      American • 1898 - 1976

      Alexander Calder worked as an abstract sculptor and has been commonly referred to as the creator of the mobile. He employed industrious materials of wire and metal and transformed them into delicate geometric shapes that respond to the wind or float in air. Born into a family of sculptors, Calder created art from childhood and moved to Paris in 1926, where he became a pioneer of the international avant-garde. In addition to his mobiles, Calder produced an array of public constructions worldwide as well as drawings and paintings that feature the same brand of abstraction. Calder was born in Lawnton, Pennsylvania.

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18 works: (i-xviii) Untitled

ink and pencil on paper
dimensions variable
smallest 1 1/2 x 3 5/8 in. (3.8 x 9.2 cm)
largest 11 1/4 x 7 1/4 in. (28.6 x 18.4 cm)

Executed in 1925, these works are registered in the archives of the Calder Foundation, New York, under application numbers A17966–A17973, A17975–A17982, A17984–A17985.

These works are accompanied by six framed printed sections for THE P-CULIAR DOG or The Piddling Pup, including one hand-written title page.

Full Cataloguing

$25,000 - 35,000 

Sold for $56,700

Contact Specialist

Annie Dolan
Specialist, Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
+1 212 940 1288

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 19 May 2022