Calder met the noted Brazilian architect Henrique Mindlin when Mindlin visited New York in 1943-1944. Mindlin soon invited Calder to visit Brazil, which he did for the first time in 1944. Their friendship continued to develop and in the late 1940s the Calders took an extended trip through South America to Rio de Janeiro.
Given the shared aesthetic values between Mindlin, the architect, and Calder, the artist, it comes as no surprise that a strong bond grew between them. Calder's early training as an engineer coupled with his precise and economical methods lent his work to an architectural appeal -- playing with weight, color and form. Henrique Mindlin is celebrated for his modern buildings that changed the skyline of Rio de Janeiro. Mindlin was responsible for designing Edifício Avenida Central, the first steel structure building in South America and at the time the tallest building there, as well as the Brazilian pavilion at the 1963 Venice Biennial, among many others. Mindlin had many international contacts in the world of architecture and fine arts such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius, Fernand Léger and Francis Picabia.
Calder's visit to Rio de Janeiro in 1948 coincided with an exhibition of his work at the Ministry of Education for which Mindlin contributed an essay to the exhibition catalogue. In this essay Mindlin expressed his admiration for Calder's intricate forms and advocated for the integration of Calder's work into the Brazilian architectural landscape: "Calder's work shows more than just the youthful inventive American spirit. Their 'humor,' their instability, their accidental qualities also betray the anxieties of our era. And the subtle, elusive lyricism of his forms bespeaks our disillusionment with the obvious and explicit. In conclusion, Calder's sculpture can be beautifully integrated with modern architecture, and would be ideally situated in the open, light-filled spaces of some of our new Brazilian buildings." (Exh. Cat. Henrique Mindlin, Alexander Calder, Ministry of Education, Rio de Janeiro, 1948, n.p.)
Over the course of many years, the Mindlin family built a collection of Calder's works either received as gifts or purchased directly from the artist.
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