144
144
Alexander Calder
LA CHAUVE SOURIS (THE BAT)
Estimate
180,000250,000
LOT SOLD. 229,250 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
144
Alexander Calder
LA CHAUVE SOURIS (THE BAT)
Estimate
180,000250,000
LOT SOLD. 229,250 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Sale

|
London

Alexander Calder
1898 - 1976
LA CHAUVE SOURIS (THE BAT)
signed
painted metal
53.4 by 54.5 by 50.5cm.; 21 by 21 1/2 by 19 7/8 in.
Executed in 1966.
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Provenance

Bo Boustedt, Stockholm (acquired directly from the artist in 1966)
Sale: Christie's, London, Contemporary Art, 30 June 1994, Lot 36
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner

Literature

Bo Boustedt, 'Vers un nouvel Humanisme? Vivre avec la Sculpture', in: XXeme Siècle, no. XXIX, Paris 1967, p. 129, illustrated

Catalogue Note

This work is registered in the archives of the Calder Foundation, New York, under application number A11808

Widely recognised as one of the greatest innovators of twentieth century sculpture, Calder was to successfully translate the modernist canon of near abstract composition into three dimensional space with a humour and vitality that was uniquely captured in his perfectly balanced creations.

Recalling in shape and spirit Calder's Paris Circus works of the early 1930s, Le chauve souris is a striking example of the perfection of balance and form.  Calder was endlessly fascinated with the circus and its animals and first realized this theme in his 1926 legendary Cirque Calder, where he included miniature elephants, horses, and lions among others, constructed from wire and cloth.  He explored the theme of animals in each of the mediums with which he experimented; wood, watercolour, metal, bronze and jewellery, never manifesting literal interpretations of these animals, but instead captured them in harmonious and even comical poses. Calder was mainly attracted to household pets or, as in The Circus, to trained, performing animals and here, their curving forms and playfulness are clearly evident.  As Marchesseau notes, "Calder's many animal figures are a continuation of the drawings done in zoos, such as the sketches into which he introduced glancing bits of humour and sly sexual allusions" (Daniel Marchesseau, The Intimate World of Alexander Calder, Paris 1989, p. 157).  With its wings outstretched, Le chauve souris is almost personified - standing tall and upright as if as circus performer itself.  The intrinsic whimsical presence born into Calder's work has become a hallmark of his stabiles and mobiles and embraces the universe's most elementary principals - fusing together concepts of motion and equilibrium to achieve a state of perfect harmony.  

Executed in 1966, at the height of Calder's maturely evolved style, La chauve souris reveals Calder's masterful ability to incorporate a playfulness and childlike quality in his metal explorations. In the present work, the bat is transformed into a curious imaginary character, whose metal components seem to fuse together with a consummate ease. For the small stabiles, Calder cut strips of sheet aluminium with shears and punched holes for the bolts. He would work rapidly without hesitation and with a bold confidence. These small-scale stabiles would become the prototypes for Calder's monumental structures that would later dominate many public spaces internationally. In his own particular way, the artist whom André Masson once addressed as the "ironsmith of dragonflies" delineates a domestic universe that strikes a responsive chord in all its beholders [..].(Daniel Marchesseau, The Intimate World of Alexander Calder, Paris 1989, p.164)

Contemporary Art Day Sale

|
London