Lot 104
  • 104

Alexander Calder

70,000 - 90,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Alexander Calder
  • Untitled (Aesop's Fables) [Four Works]:
    i. A Boy and False Alarms
    ii. A Wolf and a Sow
    iii. A Fowler and a Pigeon
    iv. A Father and His Sons

  • each signed; titled on the reverse
  • ink on paper
  • Each: 9 3/4 by 7 3/4 in. 24.8 by 19.7 cm.


Monroe Wheeler, New York (gift of the artist in 1931)
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 1974


New York, Museum of Modern Art, Modern Drawings, February - May 1944, p. 65, illustrated (i. and ii. only)
Nantucket Historical Association Fair Street Museum, Art from Nantucket Collections, 1989
Key West Art & Historical Society, If Objects Could Speak, 2003 (iii. and iv. only)
Key West Art & Historical Society, If Objects Could Speak, 2004 (i. only)
Key West Art & Historical Society, If Objects Could Speak, 2005 (ii. only)

Catalogue Note

These drawings were included in the film, Monroe Wheeler and MOMA written by George Korn and produced by the Media Center of the College of New Jersey, 1984. The film, set in the garden of Monroe Wheeler's home is a dialogue between the esteemed publisher and George Korn. It leads us through the fascinating life of one of the behind-the-scenes movers and shakers in mid-century Manhattan's modern art world.

Monroe Wheeler's career began in Paris in the early 1920's when he moved there as a young man to found the publishing house Harrison of Paris with comrades Barbara Harrison and Glenway Wescott. There the dynamic trio soon became involved and thus friendly with many of the leading artists of the day such as Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp and Alexander Calder.

Harrison of Paris published Aesop's Fables in 1931, a book which Wheeler himself designed. Calder made many of the drawings for the book, 50 of which were finally incorporated in the end. Wheeler, who when the Depression hit closed his beloved publishing house's doors (after publishing only 13 books) and moved back to Manhattan to join the founding circle of MOMA, calls Aesop's Fables "one of his favorite books."  Now known for being the late director of publications at MOMA, it is an honor for Sotheby's to offer a selection of drawings which were so dear to him.