Alexander Calder - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Monday, November 11, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Ameringer & Yohe Fine Art, New York
    Private Collection, Connecticut
    Galerie Beyeler, Basel
    Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    New York, Ameringer Fine Arts, Calder: Tour Maquettes, Two Stabiles and a Little Bird Too, September 19 - October 12, 2002

  • Literature

    J. Davidson, Calder, an Autobiography with Pictures, New York: Pantheon Books, 1966, n.p. (illustrated)
    J. Davidson, Calder, autobiographie, Paris: Adrien Maeght, 1972, p. 128 (illustrated)
    Calder: Tour Maquettes, Two Stabiles and a Little Bird Too, exh. cat., Ameringer Fine Arts, New York, 2002, p. 8 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I like black and white, that's one thing and then, black and white and red, red's's the only color that really counts somehow.”
    -Alexander Calder, 1971 (Oral history interview with Alexander Calder, Oct. 26, 1971, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution)

    Though he is perhaps known for his signature mobiles and stabiles, some weighing several tons and spanning fifty feet in diameter, Alexander Calder’s most intimate and immediate work is in his smaller-scale sculptures, such as the present lot, Multicolor stabile (Maquette), 1962. Here, we find Calder working in the early 1960s, the height of his creative output and the pinnacle of his prominence. His smaller sculptures were his retreat, a place to study the dynamics of color and shape in a scale that readily appealed to him. In addition, we find Calder in a remarkably experimental mode in his creation of the Multicolor stabile (Maquette), employing color in a far more impulsive and exciting manner than even many of his mobiles.

    Multicolor stabile (Maquette), 1962, is comprised of six planes of polychromed metal, each sharing a border with only one of the other five pieces. While four of Calder’s shapes are triangular (his most prominently-used polygon throughout his long career), Calder sneaks in a nearly horizontal quadrilateral along with a softer shape above. The result is fascinating: a pile of figures given structure and character through their dependence upon each other. This, in addition to Calder’s palette (with only black, royal blue and fiery reds for a marvelous chromatic effect), creates distinct personalities for each of his shapes: some maintain voluntary submission, while others exert very clearly defined dominance.

    While Calder’s larger-than-life pieces may occupy most of the space on the gallery floor, the present lot gives us a remarkable glimpse into the psyche of an artist fascinated by the mythology of color. Despite his ever-growing fame during the 1960s, Calder still found ways in which he could explore his inherent love of aesthetic dynamics. In Multicolor stabile (Maquette), 1962, we observe Calder in one of his most cherished environments as a sculptor: free to create as he saw fit.

  • 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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Multicolor stabile (Maquette)

polychromed metal sheet
14 3/4 x 9 1/2 x 19 1/2 in. (37.5 x 24 x 49.5 cm.)

$600,000 - 800,000 

Sold for $845,000

Contact Specialist
Zach Miner
Head of Evening Sale
+1 212 940 1256

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York 11 November 2013 7PM