• Post-War & Contemporary Evenin auction at Christies

    Sale 2219

    Post-War & Contemporary Evening Sale

    10 November 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 12

    Alexander Calder (1898-1976)

    Untitled

    Price Realised  

    Alexander Calder (1898-1976)
    Untitled
    signed with artist monogram 'CA' (on the white element)
    hanging mobile--painted and unpainted sheet metal, wire
    28 x 83 x 16 in. (71.1 x 210.8 x 40.6 cm.)
    Executed circa 1950.


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    The work is registered in the archives of the Calder Foundation, New York underthe application number A16484.


    Alexander Calder's Untitled forms part of the collection being sold in a range of our Fall sales from the Estate of Dorothy and Marshall M. Reisman. During more than half a century, the Reismans' ran the Wine Merchants, Ltd. company; their success in this industry enabled them to amass an astute and varied collection of Modern masterpieces by artists ranging from Joan Miró and Marc Chagall to Alexander Calder and George Nakashima. The Reismans' were passionate supporters of community organizations. Marshall Reisman was president, board member, and chairman of the Jewish Community Center and Temple Adeth Yeshurun, and was also on the board of trustees of the Crouse Irving Memorial Hospital Foundation, the Central New York Community Foundation, Cazenovia College, Syracuse State, and the Culinary Institute of America. It is therefore only fitting that the proceeds of these sales will benefit the Dorothy and Marshall M. Reisman Foundation, which remains committed to using its resources to enhance quality of living throughout central New York through the support of local organizations.
    Executed circa 1950, Alexander Calder's Untitled is a large, complex mobile filled with color and movement. Works such as Untitled echo the movements of the Universe in miniature, yet they also crucially occupy a space, the ceiling, formerly reserved for paintings. He has shunned the pedestals of old, uprooted the notion of sculpture and given it wings. Looking at Untitled, one clearly understands his statement that, "People think that monuments should come out of the ground, never out of the ceiling, but mobiles can be monumental too" (A. Calder quoted in J. Lipman, Calder's Universe, London, 1977, p. 268).

    A classic large-scale mobile, showing the artist's unrivalled ability to use shape, color and movement. Untitled combines horizontal and vertically-orientated elements, creating a sculpture that works visually from above, below or confronted straight on. Its playfully cut shapes, always abstract but evocative, and variegated palette give the work a joyous, childlike quality that marks his best work.

    Provenance

    The Estate of Sam Haas, Cleveland
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1961


    Pre-Lot Text

    From the Estate of Dorothy and Marshall M. Reisman sold to Benefit the Reisman Charitable Foundation


    Exhibited

    Syracuse, Everson Museum of Art, 20th Century Sculpture from the Collection, June-September 1999.