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