Lot 205
  • 205

Alexander Calder

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  • Alexander Calder
  • V for Victory
  • silver
  • 6 by 5 3/4 by 5 3/4 in. 15.2 by 14.6 by 14.6 cm.
  • Executed in 1944, this work is registered in the archives of the Calder Foundation under application number A20355.


French Pavillion exhibition, Washington, D.C.
Acquired from the above in 1944
Thence by descent


Washington D.C., French Pavillion, France Forever, Calder, Painting, Mobiles, Stabiles and Jewelry, March - April 1944

Catalogue Note

In order to commemorate the end of World War II, Alexander Calder created this extraordinary brooch with mobile element. The suspended elements are morse code for "victory" proudly deciphered high above the hammered letter "v", for the victorious end of World War II. 

Alexander Calder began making jewelry in 1940 in preparation for a show at the Willard Gallery.  Given his supreme metal working skills and endless originality, it is no surpise that Calder extended his oeuvre to include small, whimsical objects for the purposes of adornment.  Over his lifetime, Calder would create nearly 1500 pieces, fashioning unique and utterly fascinating rings, tiaras, brooches, necklaces, bracelets, hair combs and earrings.  Initially using brass, Calder would later incorporate precious metals into his designs, working in silver and gold as money allowed.  Of the 1500 pieces, only about 120 use gold, the rarest of his materials.  Stones, glass and bone were incorporated into the metal forms from the very beginning.  Influenced by cultures the world over, Calder drew inspiration from ancient Greece, African tribes, South American cultures as well as modern influences and fashions.  His experiments with these small scale projects greatly influenced the imagery and inventiveness that Calder exhibited in his large scale sculptures and vice-versa.  The ubiquitous spiral forms used in his early figurative wire forms echo in both his jewelry and in larger mobiles and stabiles.

The following nine lots represent a broad selection of Calder’s jewelry that highlight his ingenuity and talent as a metal-smith.  From the brooch and haircomb based on the Figa, a Brazillian good luck and fertility charm, to the astounding V for Victory brooch that celebrates the end of World War II, Calder’s technical skill and artistic flare are inexplicable.  The chic forms of the silver zig-zag bracelet and sleek S-shaped brooch would be an elegant addition to any modern woman’s collection.  The bold swirls of the brass ‘Cornucopia’ brooch or choker with dangling spirals are fantastical and daring sculptural pieces.  These works by Alexander Calder are much more than pieces of jewelry, they are enviable examples of wearable sculpture fashioned by one of the Twentieth Century’s most accomplished artists.