• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1998

    Post -War And Contemporary Art Morning Session

    14 May 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 102

    Alexander Calder (1898-1976)

    Untitled

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Alexander Calder (1898-1976)
    Untitled
    silver
    2 x 2 in. (5.1 x 5.1 cm.)
    Executed circa 1955.


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    This work is registered in the archives of the Calder Foundation, New York, under application number A24103.

    Provenance

    Mr. and Mrs. Robbins, New York
    By descent to the present owner


    Pre-Lot Text

    Lots 102-105 represent an exceptional selection of jewelry and sculpture by artist Alexander Calder. This grouping, from a private American collection is representative of the artist's preoccupation with the animation of sculpture. As jewelry, Calder's work is put into motion by the wearer providing a degree of animation and theatricality that would come to define the artist's work and fundamentally change our assumptions about the possibilities of sculpture forevermore. The following works offered herein bear the handiwork and patient attention of an artist whose life and art are wholly inseparable from one another. These works are the product of Calder's unbridled imagination and instinctual understanding of material and process. Though Calder was a prolific artist he was not a methodical one, each work produced by Calder carries with it a uniqueness that is never duplicated. Though Calder's works have roots in Surrealist enterprises it is certain that his contributions extend beyond such stylistic comparisons; indeed, artists like Miro and Duchamp were surprised and stunned by the curious nature of the artists Mobiles.

    The four preceding lots showcase Calder's uncanny ability to transform material into forms that are equally playful and provocative. The Spiral pin (lot 102) and Double R Brooch (lot 104) highlight the artists simple genius and humility by sublimating the mimetic for pure design. Lot 103 is an engineering feat emphasizing Calder's whimsy by rendering a small mortar and pestle in low relief, the Pestle swings freely of the Mortar and like the artist's standing mobiles it sways gently when caught by a breeze or brushed by a passerby. The Stabile (lot 105), accompanied by a full color linear study, is a masterpiece. With its Modern two-tone base and gently curved pivoting mobile crown, Calder has produced an intimate creature without precedence. With this intimately scaled work Calder invites us into his imaginative reality creating moments and objects of a uniquely precious nature.