Alexander “Sandy” Calder was born in Pennsylvania in 1898. His father and grandfather were also accomplished sculptors. His mother was painter. Always fascinated with machines, he studied mechanical engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology in 1919. In 1923, he began studying at the Art Students League in New York City. Some of his teachers were noted artists John Sloan and Guy Pene Du Bois.
He lived and worked in Paris for seven years and it is here that he first began creating wire sculptures. Soon to follow were his famous mobile pieces. The term “mobile”, used to describe a hanging kinetic sculpture, was first coined by fellow artist and friend, Marcel Duchamp.
By the 1950s, Alexander Calder was back in the United States and was beginning to receive commissions for more monumental public works. He also continued to paint, illustrate and make jewelry.
Alexander Calder revolutionized sculpture by adding movement. He was also an artist that helped shape the development of abstract art. By the 1960’s, he was widely respected worldwide. The Guggenheim Museum showed a retrospective of his work in 1964. That would be first of many during his career. Alexander Calder died in 1976.