May 12, 2012 14:00 EDT

Modern & Contemporary Works of Art

 
 
Lot 103 - Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976)

103

Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976)
The Red Bull

Signed with initials and dated 1973, painted sheet metal

height: 39 1/4 in. (99.7cm)width: 28 in. (71.1cm)depth: 13 in. (33cm)

Provenance: Estate of the artist.
M. Knoedler & Co., New York, New York.
Private Collection, Toronto [Purchased from above in 1981].
Perls Galleries, New York, New York.
Quintana Fine Art, New York, New York.
Gerald Peters Gallery, New York, New York.
Private Collection.

note:
This work is registered in the archives of the Calder Foundation under identification number A02185.

Sold for $530,500
Estimated at $250,000 - $400,000


 

Signed with initials and dated 1973, painted sheet metal

height: 39 1/4 in. (99.7cm)width: 28 in. (71.1cm)depth: 13 in. (33cm)

Provenance: Estate of the artist.
M. Knoedler & Co., New York, New York.
Private Collection, Toronto [Purchased from above in 1981].
Perls Galleries, New York, New York.
Quintana Fine Art, New York, New York.
Gerald Peters Gallery, New York, New York.
Private Collection.

note:
This work is registered in the archives of the Calder Foundation under identification number A02185.

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Alexander Calder

“The next step in sculpture is motion,” said Alexander Calder, one of the preeminent sculptors of the 20th century well-known for his static self-supporting abstract “stabile” sculptures. A fourth-generation artist and son of Alexander Sterling Calder, he is credited with introducing movement into three-dimensional works, initially through performances of his hand-activated single wire “Circus” figures (“Cirque Calder”) with motorized works. His iconic stabiles—painted sheet metal and wire mobiles activated by air currents—were first shown in America in 1932.

Over the past decade, Freeman’s has had the privilege to offer three remarkable Calder stabiles: The Red Bull (1973) sold for $530,500 in 2012, the 1966 Bushy-tailed Red achieved $327,750 in 2014, and Azul, Amarillo, blanco, sobre rojo (1955) sold for $241,000 in 2010. Calder’s gouache-on-paper works have also exceeded their pre-sale estimates, from the 1967 Spinnaker that achieved $181,250 in 2020 to Descending Discs (1972), which sold for $110,500 in 2014. Freeman’s has seen consistent interest in and lively bidding for this blue-chip artist in recent years.

Though Calder is perhaps best known for his stabiles, he also created paintings, gouaches, theater sets, jewelry designs, rugs, and tapestries. As a young man, Calder earned a degree in mechanical engineering and published a drawing manual entitled Animal Sketching before establishing himself in Paris in the 1920s and 30s, during which time he was dubbed the “King of Wire” for his three-dimensional animal creations. The forms in Calder’s work include organic shapes derived from the natural world, as well as geometric forms, including discs and spheres, many painted in his famous “Calder red,” yellow, and blue. Calder was never fully aligned with any one particular art movement, but achieve immense popularity—which, at times, subjected him to critical rebuke. He left behind a prodigious output upon his passing in 1976, just weeks after the opening of a major retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art.