Personnage du cirque
Cheval, 1926 - 1932
Ink on paper - 28 x 22 cm
The year 1998 is the centenary of the birth of Alexander Calder (Philadelphia, 1898). The Joan Miro Foundation is starting off the celebrations with a large exhibition containing a wide selection from the oeuvre of this exceptional artist, from the most personal articles to what is considered the essence of his work : sculpture in movement.
After studying for four years at the best engineering schools in the United States, working as a newspaper illustrator, and then spending three years at a somewhat orthodox art school in New York, Calder, like many Americans in the twenties with a spirit of adventure, went off to Paris. Already adept as a caricaturist, it was not long before he transferred his drawing skills to sculpture. He assembled a few basic tools and created amusing wire sculptures that were the prelude to his later works.
Dolores, c. 1947
Cupper - 2,3 x 9,8 cm
The Calder exhibition at the Joan Miro Foundation shows these early works in wire produced between 1926 and 1934. Some of them are related to the circus theme that the artist so loved and that is also the subject of various drawings and of the film "Calder 's Circus" made by Carles Vilardebo in 1961. On display too, despite the technical problems involved, are some of the motorized mobiles made between 1934 and 1940, in which the actual movement was produced first by simple motors and later by natural forces.
Calder 's contact with the Abstraction-Creation group of artists and his friendship with Joan Miro gave him a new creative impulse. One of his ventures at this time, encouraged by the success of his first large exhibition in Paris in 1931, was the creation of the Constellations in 1943, a reflection of the interest he always had in astronomical phenomena and cosmology and the result of his skill in working with wire.
Portrait of Miro, 1931
wire - 29 x 27 cm
The exhibition continues with what are perhaps Calder's most characteristic and best known works - the mobiles and the so-called stabiles. Four of the rooms in the Foundation and one of the outside patios will contain the large and medium format mobiles and stabiles, including pieces such as L'empenage or Toile d'araignée. The show ends with a selection of pieces of jewellery and everyday articles, some from the Miro family collection, that are an emotive testimony to the friendship that united these two great artists since their first meeting in Paris in 1928. To demonstrate their special relationship, the exhibition will commence with a number of works by Miro in the Calder collection and some twenty objects by Calder belonging to the Miro' family. Fruit, too, of this friendship are the four pieces by Calder in the Foundation's permanent collection, which form part of the exhibition and include the famous Mercury Fountain made in 1937.