Lot 150167 View Catalog
Calder received a degree from Stevens in 1919. For the next several years, he held a variety of engineering jobs, including working as a hydraulics engineer and a draughtsman for the New York Edison Company. In June 1922, Calder found work as a mechanic on the passenger ship H. F. Alexander. While the ship sailed from San Francisco to New York City, Calder worked on deck off the Guatemalan Coast and witnessed both the sun rising and the moon setting on opposite horizons. He described in his autobiography "It was early one morning on a calm sea, off Guatemala, when over my couch-a coil of rope-I saw the beginning of a fiery red sunrise on one side and the moon looking like a silver coin on the other."The H.F. Alexander docked in San Francisco and Calder traveled up to Aberdeen, Washington, where his sister lived with her husband, Kenneth Hayes. Calder took a job as a timekeeper at a logging camp. The mountain scenery inspired him to write home to request paints and brushes. Shortly after this, Calder decided to move back to New York to pursue a career as an artist. Red Mobile, 1956, Painted sheet metal and metal rods, a signature work by Calder - Montreal Museum of Fine ArtsCalder moved to New York and enrolled at the Art Students' League, studying briefly with Thomas Hart Benton and John Sloan, among others. While a student, he worked for the National Police Gazette where, in 1925, one of his assignments was sketching the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. Calder became fascinated with the circus, a theme that would reappear in his later work.In 1926, Calder moved to Paris where he established a studio at 22 rue Daguerre in the Montparnasse Quarter. In June 1929, while traveling by boat from Paris to New York, Calder met his future wife, Louisa James, grandniece of author Henry James and philosopher William James. They married in 1931. While in Paris, Calder met and became friends with a number of avant-garde artists, including Joan Miró, Jean Arp, and Marcel Duchamp. Calder and Louisa returned to America in 1933 to settle in a farmhouse they purchased in Roxbury, Connecticut, where they raised a family (first daughter, Sandra born 1935, second daughter, Mary, in 1939).In 1962, Calder settled into his new workshop Carroi, which was of a futuristic design and overlooked the valley of the Lower Chevrière to Saché in Indre-et-Loire (France). He did not hesitate to offer his gouaches and small mobiles to his friends in the country, he even donated to the town a stabile trônant, which since 1974 in situated front of the church: an anti-sculpture free from gravity.In 1966, Calder published his Autobiography with Pictures with the help of his son-in-law, Jean Davidson. Calder died on November 11, 1976, shortly after opening a major retrospective show at the Whitney Museum in New York. He had been working on a third plane, entitled Salute to Mexico, when he died.