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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

In inventing the mobile as an art form, Calder liberated sculpture from mass and incorporated movement as a medium. Most remarkable in these mobiles is their elegant simplicity that invite us to delight in the purely abstract relationships of colour and form, in this poetry of motion. Calder lived in Paris from 1926 to 1933 and was profoundly marked by a visit to Mondrian’s Paris studio in 1930. Already familiar with the Dutch artist’s paintings, he was most impressed by the austere, geometric environment of the studio: the white walls were punctuated with sheets of coloured cardboard, configured according to principles of dynamic equilibrium. Calder later said that he wished everything there had been in motion. Mirò’s biomorphic shapes and playful imagery also had an immediate effect upon him. When Calder’s kinetic works were first shown in February 1932 at the Galerie Vignon in Paris, Duchamp dubbed them as “mobiles.”

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

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