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Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder (American 1898-1976) was born in 1898, the second child of artist parents—his father was a sculptor and his mother a painter. One Christmas young Calder gave his parents with two of his first sculptures, a tiny dog and duck cut from a brass sheet and bent into formation. The duck is kinetic—it rocks back and forth when tapped. Despite his talents, Calder did not originally set out to become an artist. He instead enrolled at the Stevens Institute of Technology after high school and graduated in 1919 with an engineering degree. Calder worked for several years after graduation at various jobs, including as a hydraulics engineer and automotive engineer. Around 1923 he moved to New York and enrolled at the Art Students League and become an artist. Calder's abstract works are characteristic, colorful and finely crafted. He created ingenious, frequently witty, use of natural and manmade materials, including wire, sheet metal, wood and bronze. Calder was prolific and worked throughout his career in many art forms. He produced drawings, oil paintings, watercolors, etchings, gouache and serigraphy. He also designed jewelry, tapestry, theatre settings and architectural interiors. In a century that saw the forms of art and literature reinvented regularly, Alexander Calder stands out as one of the great pioneers of his time. In 1976, he attended the opening of yet another retrospective of his work, Calder's Universe, at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Just a few weeks later, Calder died at the age of seventy-eight

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