Skip to contentSkip to navigation

Alexander Calder

Four Black Bottoms and Six Reds


Alexander Calder
Philadelphia 1898 – New York 1976


Four Black Bottoms and Six Reds




Sheet metal, metal rods, paint


366 cm (diam.)


Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. 1960.1234


Western Art

The mobile has become so familiar, and takes such a variety of forms, that it may come as a surprise that this art form was invented by Alexander Calder less than a hundred years ago. Initially coined by the French artist Marcel Duchamp, the term “mobile” later entered the dictionary to describe Calder’s innovation. Not only did the artist create sculpture that moved by bending, connecting and balancing metal rods on which hung cut-out pieces of sheet metal, but he also quite literally turned sculpture upside down by designing most of his mobiles to be suspended from the ceiling.

This mobile is composed of two distinct parts: the black disks each hang so that their bottom sides are parallel to the floor, whereas smaller red planar forms of varying sizes float vertically through space. Together moving through the air in a wonderful, perpetual choreography, the suspended black and red biomorphic forms have become synonymous with mid-century modern design.

© 2019 Calder Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOCAN, Montréal

Add a touch of culture to your inbox
Subscribe to the Museum newsletter

Bourgie Hall Newsletter sign up