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Alexander Calder (1898-1976)
Property from the Flint Institute of Arts, Sold to Benefit the Acquisitions Fund
Alexander Calder (1898-1976)

The White Sieve

Details
Alexander Calder (1898-1976)
The White Sieve
signed with monogram 'CA' (on the base)
standing mobile -- painted sheet metal, brass and wire
11 ¾ x 19 x 19 in. (29.8 x 48.2 x 48.2 cm.)
Executed in 1963.
Provenance
Perls Galleries, New York
Donald Morris Gallery, Detroit, acquired 1966
Mary Mallory Davis, Flint, MI, 1966
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1990

Brought to you by

Emily Woodward
Emily Woodward

Lot Essay

This work is registered in the archives of the Calder Foundation, New York, under application number A08052.

The mobiles, which are neither wholly alive nor wholly mechanical, and which always eventually return to their original form, may be likened to water grasses in the changing currents, or to the petals of the sensitive plant, or to gossamer caught in an updraft. In short, although "mobiles" do not seek to imitate anything because they do not "seek" any end whatever, unless it be to create scales and chords of hitherto unknown movements - they are nevertheless at once lyrical inventions, technical combinations of an almost mathematical quality, and sensitive symbols of Nature” (J.P. Sartre, "The Mobiles of Calder," Alexander Calder, exh. cat., New York, 1947).

The White Sieve is a wonderful example of Calder’s table top standing mobiles from the 1960s. Comprised of a static, stabile base which supports an attachment of moving elements, the sculpture is not only beautiful, but an impressive feat of engineering. A 19 inch span consisting of a stark white perforated element perfectly counterbalanced with a branch-like network of yellow disks balances flawlessly on the pinnacle of the sweeping black and red base by means of meticulously formed brass plate. A push or a gust will set its carefully balanced elements in motion, introducing that magical element of chance and movement that makes Calder's sculptures so fascinating. As he himself said, "When everything goes right a mobile is a piece of poetry that dances with the joy of life and surprises" (A. Calder, Calder, London, 2004, p. 261).

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