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Chicago Black

Calder, Alexander (1898-1976), c. 1949, Mobile sculpture: aluminium 450 x 210

An American artist, Alexander Calder was born in Lawnton, Pennsylvania.  Calder’s father and grandfather were both sculptors, but he chose to study mechanical engineering, only beginning to be interested in art at the age of 24.  He enrolled at the Art Students’ League, New York where he studied as a painter. Whilst he was a student, Calder became noted for his skill in sketching people in movement and he started to create wire sculptures which also suggested movement.  He experimented with abstract constructions which were intended to be stationary and these he called  ‘stabiles’. In 1931 Calder started making moving sculptures, calling them ‘mobiles’.  Calder used the principles of weight and balance to make his mobiles change their patterns of movement, either when disturbed by currents of air or sometimes by motor power for large works.  <em> Chicago Black</em> was bought by the LACF in 1963.