Calder's Conceptual Journey

A recent article in Artsy’s enewsletter, “Understanding Alexander Calder Through 6 Pivotal Artworks”, follows Calder’s development from his early concepts to the gigantic mobiles for which he is most known. It always fascinates me to learn about the creative journey—especially an artist’s journey. I can easily follow most of the concept development but I struggle with the high praise the author gave the first work presented. I get and admire the concept of adding a fourth dimension to the piece however it didn’t appeared finished. It was very rudimentary in presentation and all the movement required manipulation by the artist. It was done in the first part of the 20th century so Calder had limited tools to deliver on the concept.


The difference between the first and second works is significant. In fact, the movement concept is minimized perhaps even eliminated. He evolved toward a single media—twisted wire. I’m thinking there was a smoother progression that led to the wire sculpture. The work in the article looked like it was created from a single length of wire which is amazingly impressive.


From that point forward, Calder follows a very interesting path. It makes sense without being overly predictable and certainly not boring. I appreciate Calder’s work a lot more than I did prior to reading the article. I think the other reading I’ve done recently on physics concepts has added to my understanding and appreciation of Alexander Calder. I’m also motivated to learn more about the artist.