155
155
Alexander Calder
UNTITLED
Estimate
500,000700,000
JUMP TO LOT
155
Alexander Calder
UNTITLED
Estimate
500,000700,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York

Alexander Calder
1898 - 1976
UNTITLED
brass
28 by 32 1/2 by 17 3/4 in. 71.1 by 82.6 by 45.1 cm.
Executed in 1949, this work is registered in the archives of the Calder Foundation, New York, under application number A17801.
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Provenance

Private Collection, New Orleans (commissioned directly from the artist)
Private Collection, Alabama (by descent from the above in 1990)
Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above

Literature

Arthur Q. Davis and J. Richard Davis, It Happened by Design: The Life and Work of Arthur Q. Davis, Jackson, 2009, p. 14

Catalogue Note

Alexander Calder’s artistic achievements were prolific and lauded across many mediums. Untitled exemplifies Calder’s undeniable talent at manipulating his materials into works that come alive with their presence. The work shows an instance of Calder’s fascination with the animal motif which has always been a presence in his oeuvre; seen in his jewelry, his drawings, his gouaches, and his sculptures of all size and type.

Abstract in nature, Untitled is not instantly recognized as the butterfly that it is. Rather, its delicacy and form bring to life the creature that it is modeled as. The butterfly seems to be on the verge of motion as the wings are rendered as they are about to flutter, a brief moment that Calder permanently captures in steel. This still moment, caught in between moments of movement, shows the work’s ability to capture both instant stillness while also referencing motion, as it seems the butterfly is about to fly away. This work’s ability to capture absolute stillness as well as motion serves as an interesting counterpart to the mobiles that Calder was so well known for, which so effectively encapsulated a feeling a movement and motion in their entirety.

Calder’s choice of brass for this work further heightens its dramatic presence. By stripping away all color, a characteristic that one may typically use to illustrate a butterfly, and stripping it down to the bare medium, the work is reduced to its mere form. We are drawn to the stillness that Calder captures and can truly appreciate the poised and elegant nature of both the butterfly as a creature as well as the sculptural form itself. As our aesthetic experience is not informed by a visual analysis of color, we are able to experience the raw, primal qualities inherent to both the material and the form, and are led to appreciate the work on a more conceptual level.

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York