- Alexander Calder
- Mr. Uhlan
- 11 by 9 1/4 by 6 in. 27.9 by 23.5 by 15.2 cm.
- Executed circa 1938, this work is registered in the archives of the Calder Foundation, New York, under application number A10511.
Perls Galleries, New York
Sotheby's, New York, May 9, 1996, lot 108
Private Collection, New York
Peter Freeman, Inc., New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above
Madrid, Galería Elvira González, Calder, December 2010 - January 2011, cat. no. 1, p. 11, illustrated in color
The present work from circa 1938 is a portrait of Mr. Uhlan, the superintendent in Calder’s New York City apartment building on 86th Street. The artist gifted the work to Mr. Uhlan, as he was in the habit of doing with his wire sculptures, mobiles and jewelry throughout his career. Here, Calder’s deft handling of a single wire, coiled and curved and twisted, renders Mr. Uhlan’s simple yet stunningly crafted likeness. From different angles, the work takes on different shapes, so the face morphs and changes as the viewer walks around it. Incredibly, Calder makes a virtually weightless wire appear to contain mass and density. Calder’s skillful manipulation of his materials married with the loving dedication to a friend imbues Mr. Uhlan with an intimate and personal spirit.