In his autobiography Calder recalled being in Guatemala in the months just before he abandoned his career as a mechanical engineer to become an artist, and seeing the sun rising on one side of the sky whilst the moon remained suspended on the other; he described it as giving him a ‘lasting impression of the solar system’ (Alexander Calder, Jean Davidson, Calder: An Autobiography with Pictures, New York, 1966, p.38). In Smoke Rings, sun and moon coexist and are accompanied by other more mysterious celestial bodies. Calder’s unique language of abstraction finds full play in a work that is at once uplifting and life-affirming.
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