Lot 110
  • 110

Alexander Calder

250,000 - 350,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Alexander Calder
  • Untitled (Necklace)
  • silver wire and string
  • 1/4 by 8 by 8 in. 0.6 by 20.3 by 20.3 cm.
  • Executed circa 1950, this work is registered in the archives of the Calder Foundation, New York, under application number A25782.


Herbert Matter, Zurich (gift of the artist)
By descent to the present owner

Catalogue Note

Highlighting Alexander Calder’s distinctive spirals and sophisticated craftsmanship, the present work, Untitled (Necklace), is a testament to the importance of Calder’s jewelry as an intimate staple in his artistic career. Throughout Calder’s lifetime, he created more than 1,800 pieces of jewelry, each element thoughtfully composed and carefully constructed in a way that reflects his well-known sculptures.

Speaking of his jewelry, Calder stated, “Simplicity of equipment and an adventurous spirit in attacking the unfamiliar or unknown are apt to result in a primitive and vigorous art” (Alexander S.C. Rower and Holton Rower, Calder Jewelry, New York, 2007, p. 145). It is with precisely this attitude that Herbert Matter, the original owner of the ornament, celebrated Calder as an artist, a comrade and a contemporary.  Calder gifted the work to Mr. Matter, a photographer and filmmaker, who began directing the first color film about Calder’s work in the late 1940s. The movie, titled The Works of Calder, was created for the Museum of Modern Art and featured music composed by John Cage. This was Matter’s first cinematic pursuit, through which he captured Calder's adventurous spirit in attacking the unfamiliar, which he believed necessary in producing a truly dynamic art form.

Matter explored the connection between Calder’s work and the delicate rhythms in nature. At the time, the film was considered to be one of the most paramount interpretations of a contemporary artist's work portrayed in a motion picture. This response was attributed to Mr. Matter’s profound appreciation for Calder and his work. Considering the tight bond the two friends shared, it is no surprise that Mr. Matter was the proud owner of one of Calder's pieces of jewelry, and having since been passed down through Mr. Matter’s family, the necklace embraces the essence of vitality inspiring one artist to celebrate another.