Alexander Calder’s mother, a painter and a late 19th century student at both the Académie Julian and the Sorbonne, met Calder’s father, Stirling Calder, a sculptor, while she studied at the Pennsylvania School of Fine Arts. Calder’s parents, both working artists, did not encourage him to become an artist so he become a mechanical engineer.
His engineering degree led to a job as a mechanic on a passenger ship H. F. Alexander, which upon its 1922 docking in San Francisco, gave Calder a good reason to travel Aberdeen, Washington to visit his sister. He stayed and found a job at a logging camp where the mountain landscape so captivated him that he soon decided to become an artist, which was a decisive moment in his determination to move to New York City to create art.
Calder’s creativity was expressed in a myriad of disciplines; sculpture, painting, jewelry, tapestries, miniatures, set designs, and printmaking. In 1925, as he continued to push the abstraction of his sculpture, he explored his printmaking practice, both mediums inspiring the other with the geometric forms of movement.
The late 1940’s and though the 1950’s Calder’s reputation grew as did his production of prints. Lithographs, based on his gouache paintings, became available, as well as editions of plays, poems, and short stories illustrated with fine art prints.
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Guggenheim Museum, New York City, NY
Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, NY