Van Gogh •
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Alexander Calder was born in Philadelphia. He was the son of Alexander Stirling Calder and the
grandson of Alexander Milne Calder,
both well-known sculptors. He studied mechanical engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology, and art at the Art Students League
in New York City. In 1925, after doing line drawings for the National Police Gazette he published his first book, "Animal Sketches", in
brush and ink. His oil paintings of urban scenes were painted in a loose and easy style. In 1926, he began to carve primitivist figures
in tropical woods, which remained an important medium in his work until 1930. In 1931, after a visit to abstract
artist Piet Mondrian's studio, he did his first non-objective construction.
Alexander Calder made ingenious, witty use of natural and man-made materials including wire, sheet metal, wood and bronze to create his "mobiles," a name first used by Marcel Duchamp to describe this new idiom in modern art. Calder created mobiles (suspended, moving structures), standing mobiles (anchored, moving sculptures), and stabiles (stationary constructions). His first mobiles were motor driven, later they were wind driven to enable all parts to move independently of each other "by nature and chance" as Calder worded it.
In 1935, after attending classes at the Académie de la Grande Chaumier, Paris, Calder made his first wire sculptures. Calder worked
in many art forms including drawing, oil painting, watercolor, etching, gouache and serigraphy. He also designed jewelry, tapestry,
theatre settings and architectural interiors. He died in 1976.