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signed, dedicated and dated 'à Ray & Jeanne Sutter, Sandy Calder 70' (lower right)
gouache and ink on paper
29 1⁄4 x 43 1⁄8 in. (74.3 x 109.5 cm.)
Painted in 1970.
Raymond and Jeanne Sutter, Saché, gift of the artist, 1970
Private collection, Paris
Galerie Carole Brimaud, Paris
Private collection, Geneva, 1992
Anon. sale; Christie's, Paris, 8 December 2016, lot 222
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
Post lot text
This work is registered in the archives of the Calder Foundation, New York, under application number A28063.

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Lot Essay

Alexander Calder’s Untitled (1970) presents the viewer with a symphony of swirling lines and primary colored forms, all foregrounded by a lush crimson slope. The work embodies not only Calder’s skill in gouache on paper, but additionally encapsulates the high points of the artist’s career. Untitled captures the dynamic energy of Calder’s mobiles while allowing the eye to savor the artistry of the painterly hand. The hypnotic linear paths imply movement frozen in time, drawing the viewer into Calder’s fantastical two-dimensional world. The eye traces the repeated balletic geometry, following the gentle curve of the scarlet upward hill and then returning to the grounding three cerulean shapes. There is an organic approach to geometric forms, softening the typical rigidity of the hardened line, achieving a subtlety that is only capable through the use of the gouache on paper medium.

Untitled was produced only six years before Calder’s passing, making it one of his most mature and developed creations. The artist began creating early in childhood, moving to Paris in 1926. This sojourn in the French capital introduced Surrealist tendencies to his work as he mingled with the international avant-garde. Calder’s drawings and gouache works are some of his most intense investigations into abstraction, a visible exploration of the two-dimensional line as it travels on paper. He plays with optical illusion, the undulating black lines in Untitled seemingly swaying and dancing on the work’s paper surface. Untitled truly is a celebration of Calder’s oeuvre, showcasing his hallmark primary color choices and devotion to line and form.

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