Studio Sunday: Alexander Calder

A photo of Alexander Calder working in his studio in the 1960's


Let’s take a look inside the studio of Alexander Calder. Calder was an American sculptor who produced large-scale hanging mobiles, as well as stationary floor sculptures that he called “stabiles.” The artist frequently produced his work using large pieces of sheet metal, many of which are visible in the above photo of his studio.


Calder was born in 1898 in Pennsylvania, and studied mechanical engineering in his early career. This background must have come in handy in the construction of his metal sculptures! In the 1930’s, Calder moved to Roxbury, Connecticut, where the above pictured studio was located. What a spectacular studio it is, too! The huge space has notably high ceilings which must have been ideal for Calder setting up and tinkering with his hanging mobiles. The floor of the studio is packed with rows of supplies, cut sheet metal, metal rods and wires and other materials that are in the process of becoming new sculptures.


I also love the amount of natural light that this studio gets. One entire wall of this tall space is devoted to glass windows, allowing Calder a full view of the Connecticut wilderness where the home was located. Even in the above photo, some trees and greenery can be seen against the glare of morning or afternoon light. The studio is warehouse-like and devoted to Calder’s engineering.


This artist was one of the pioneers of large-scale metal sculpture and paved the way for artists like Richard Serra and Claes Oldenburg’s public works – certainly, a studio like this makes me want to try my hand at metalworking, or at least string some interesting objects up on the wires that hang from the ceiling. Calder moved to France in the late 1960’s where he worked up until his death in 1976.  

[image source]

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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