July 22 ~  Conjure It Up In Space Calder's art

"If you can imagine a thing, conjure it up in space then you can make it... The universe is real but you can't see it. You have to imagine it. Then you can be realistic about reproducing it." ~ Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder

Proof that art... and life... can be fun, influential sculptor Alexander Stirling"Sandy" Calder (1898-1976) was born on this day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son and grandson of well-known sculptors. He graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering, then moved to Paris in 1926 to experiment with wire and kinetics.

"I paint with shapes," he once explained. "The basis of everything for me is the universe."

With imagination and a lifelong passion for the circus, Calder created motion and form with his art. Contemporary French Dada artist Marcel Duchamp coined the term "mobile" to describe Calder's moving sculptures. Another artist, Jean Arp, coined the term "stabile" for Calder's stationary abstract pieces.

"My fan mail is enormous," Calder said. "Everyone is under six."

Often animal shaped, his sculptures of stone, wood, or bronze captured the uniqueness of things. Calder celebrated spirit and color, calling his pieces "poetry that dances with the joy of life." Whether creating a clown or high wire performer, the innovative genius translated his fascination for life's movement into unforgettable art.

"My whole theory of art is the disparity that exists between form, masses, and movement," he reflected in 1960 (The Artist's Voice). "Above all, art should be fun."

Calder created major public sculptures for the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, Lincoln Center, and Kennedy International Airport. His popular red and black mobile in Washington D.C.'s National Gallery is a technical masterpiece that extends through several floor levels.

More Art & Artists Quotations

Alexander CalderLet your imagination go.