Alexander Calder was born in Pennsylvania on July 22, 1898. Calder came from a family of artists, but it wasn't until 1923 when he moved to New York to study at the Art Student's League that he became committed to working solely as an artist himself.
As an illustrator, Calder was introduced to the world of the circus, which became a lifelong interest of his. After moving to Paris in 1926, Calder created his Cirque Calder, a complex and unique body of work. Calder had begun his new method of sculpting: twisting and bending wire and "drawing" three-dimensional figures in space. In 1931, Calder created his first truly kinetic sculpture, and gave form to an entirely new type of art. These first moving objects, dubbed "mobiles" by Marcel Duchamp, were later modified to undulate on their own with the air's currents. His "stabiles," titled so by Jean Arp, were non-kinetic works, which remained stationary. The forties and fifties were productive years for Calder, wherein major retrospectives were held including one at the Museum of Modern Art in 1943. Calder concentrated his efforts primarily on large-scale commissioned works in his later years.
Calder's first solo exhibition came in 1927 at the Gallery of Jacques Seligmann in Paris. Galerie Maeght in Paris held a show of Calder's work in 1950 and subsequently became his exclusive Parisian dealer. His dealer in the States was the Perls Gallery and the alliance lasted between 1954 up until Calder's death in 1976. Later retrospectives included the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1964 and in 1976 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, entitled, Calder's Universe.
Alexander Calder died November 11, 1976.