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Photo: Paul Macapia

The Eagle

1971

Alexander Calder

American, 1898-1976

A third-generation American sculptor, Alexander Calder studied mechanical engineering before studying art. In the 1920s-1930s while in Paris, he developed two distinctive genres of sculpture: mobiles, or sculptures that move, and stabiles, which are stationary. Eagle, created at a time when Calder was recognized as one of the world's greatest sculptors, reveals the artist's distinctive combination of pragmatism and poetry. Architectural in its construction and scale, Eagle displays its curving wings, assertive stance, and pointy beak in a form that is weightless, colorful and abstract.

Alexander Calder was born in Lawton, Pennsylvania and moved to New York in 1923, attending the Art Students League, and traveled repeatedly to Paris, where he first exhibited his work in 1927. Calder retrospectives have been presented at the Museum of Modern Art in 1943, the Guggenheim Museum, New York in 1964 and the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1976. Calder was awarded the Gold Medal for Sculpture by the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1971, the year he created Eagle.


Painted steel, 465 x 390 x 390 in. (1181.1 x 990.6 x 990.6cm); estimated weight 6 tons, Gift of Jon and Mary Shirley, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, 2000.69, © 2008 Calder Foundation

location
Now on view at Olympic Sculpture Park

© Benjamin Benschneider
Photo: Benjamin Benschneider

© Benjamin Benschneider
Photo: Benjamin Benschneider

How does art come into being? Out of volumes, motion, spaces carved out within the surrounding space, the universe.

Alexander Calder

"How does art come into being? Out of volumes, motion, spaces carved out within the surrounding space, the universe. Out of different masses—tight, heavy, middling, achieved by variations of size or color. Out of directional lines—vectors representing motion, velocity, acceleration, energy, etc.—lines which form significant angles and directions, making up one or several totalities. Spaces or volumes, created by the slightest opposition to their masses, or penetrated by vectors, traversed by momentum...abstractions which resemble no living things except by their manner of reacting."

—Alexander Calder

Artist

Alexander Calder

American, 1898-1976

Alexander Calder was born in Lawton, Pennsylvania and moved to New York in 1923, attending the Art Students League, and traveled repeatedly to Paris, where he first exhibited his work in 1927. Calder retrospectives have been presented at the Museum of Modern Art in 1943, the Guggenheim Museum, New York in 1964 and the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1976. Calder was awarded the Gold Medal for Sculpture by the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1971.

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