Although well known for his iconic mobiles and monumental outdoor sculptures, Alexander Calder also possessed an exceptional talent for working on a more intimate scale to produce exquisite pieces of jewellery. Each piece was individually designed and hand-made by the artist, displaying the signature working practice and grace that is present in his larger-scaled works.
These examples from the collection of Ruth Horwich, who with her husband Leonard was among the founders of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago and an important figure in the development of the Chicago contemporary art world from the late 1950s, display Calder’s dexterity in the necklace, bracelet and brooch form, each containing a tightly wound coil of lustrous metal — which was a constant theme that ran throughout his jewellery practice.
In Spiral Pin, a flat ribbon of gold wraps in on itself until it seemingly disappears in the center of an ever-coiling circle. In Bracelet, Calder constructs a series of brass tendrils that extend up the wrist, snuggly gripping the forearm. In Necklace, Calder arranges a cascade of miniature coils on a piece of leather chord to shimmering wave of golden hues that sways with a sense of excited animation.
Several works including Bracelet were first shown in a legendary exhibition of Calder’s jewelry at the Willard Gallery in New York in 1940. the following seven pieces are offered in our First Open/NYC sale on 6 March at Rockefeller Center, New York.