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Catalog Data

Calder, Alexander, 1898-1976  Search this
Place of publication, production, or execution:
United States
Physical Description:
2.6 Linear feet
The Alexander Calder papers are arranged into six series, according to type of material. The contents of each folder have been arranged chronologically. Series 1: Biographical Material, 1928-1954, undated(Box 1; 8 folders) Series 2: Correspondence, 1928-1962, undated (Box 1; 3 folders) Series 3: Printed Material, 1927-1967, undated(Box 1-3; 1 linear foot) Series 4: Photographs, 1927-1962, undated (Box 3-6; 0.6 linear feet) Series 5: Artwork, 1930-1947, undated(Box 5-6; 1 folder) Series 6: Scrapbook, 1926-1932 (Box 7; 1 item)
Access Note / Rights:
The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.
The papers of abstract kinetic artist and sculptor Alexander Calder measure 2.6 linear feet and date from 1926 to 1967. Found within the papers are scattered biographical materials, correspondence, printed materials, photographs, scattered prints and sketches by Calder, and a scrapbook. Of particular interest are the numerous photographs of Calder, including many of Calder at work in his studios, with his family at their home in Touraine, France, exhibitions, and artwork. Among the photographs are several taken by photographer and artist Herbert Matter and a photograph of Pierre Matisse at Calder's home.
Alexander Calder papers, 1926-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Additional Forms:
The papers of Alexander Calder were digitized in 2005 by the Archives of American Art, and total 1086 images.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Use Note:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Related Materials:
The Archives also has a transcribed interview of Alexander Calder, conducted October 26, 1971 by Paul Cummings for the Archives of American Art.
Biography Note:
Sculptor and kinetic artist Alexander Calder was born in 1898 in Lawnton, Pennsylvania. As the son of two artists, he was encouraged to sculpt and construct things in his own workshop at an early age. In 1919 he graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology with a degree in mechanical engineering, and after holding several jobs, he decided to take classes at the Art Students League in New York City. He began exhibiting his paintings, but also focused on drawing, illustration, and wood and wire sculpture. In 1926 Calder moved to Paris and began making toys for his performance piece, "Cirque Calder." He married Louisa James in 1931 and exhibited his mobiles for the first time the same year. He continued to spend his time between New York and Paris, and he and Louisa also bought a farm in Roxbury, Connecticut. They had two children, Sandra and Mary. Calder befriended many influential artists, including Joan Mirò, Fernand Léger, Marcel Duchamp, and Yves Tanguy, and joined the Abstraction-Création group in 1931. He exhibited and worked on commissions extensively throughout his career. As a very prolific artist, he had alliances with several galleries, including the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York. Later in his career, Calder began focusing on large-scale outdoor sculptures. He died in 1976 at the age of 78.
Language Note:
English .
The collection was donated in 1963 by Alexander Calder and was microfilmed shortly after receipt.
Digitization Note:
The papers of Alexander Calder were digitized in 2005 by the Archives of American Art. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 1,086 images.
Location Note:
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Sculpture, Modern -- 20th century  Search this
Sculptors  Search this
Sculpture, American  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art