Lot 12
  • 12

Alexander Calder

300,000 - 400,000 USD
346,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Alexander Calder
  • Jagged and Arched (Maquette)
  • incised with the artist's monogram
  • sheet metal and paint


Perls Galleries, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 1973

Catalogue Note

As Alexander Calder forged a revolutionary path through the art historical landscape of the 20th Century, he created a body of outstanding works that exist as brilliant amalgamations of the traditionally opposed arts of painting and sculpture. For his stabiles, a term coined for the stationary subset of Calder’s oeuvre, the sculptor maintained a visually active element in the sinuous linear design of their outlines and profiles, exquisitely evident in Jagged and Arched from 1963. As a result of his many innovations, Calder is today recognized as one of the few artists to both invent and practice his own category of art. From that moment of stylistic genesis, Calder’s corpus – defined primarily by his hanging mobile, standing mobile and stabile sculptures – persistently showcased his unrivalled aptitude for abstract sculpture. Jagged and Arched, with its seamless synthesis of design and delicate compositional balance, is truly archetypal of Calder’s meticulous technical practice and unique artistic vision.

Forged entirely out of jet-black painted metal, the elegantly curved and beautifully counterbalanced composition of the present work belies its absolute solidity. Jagged and Arched (Maquette) from 1963 is a maquette that Calder created for his monumental sculpture of the same name and year, currently installed outside of the Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute in Utica, New York. Though there are clear parallels between the two sculptures, the delicate and intimate scale of the present work establishes a physical connection to the human body. It calls out to be touched, held, cradled. Balanced on a tabletop, gracefully perched on its resting points, Jagged and Arched resembles a cat, with its back arched, hair standing up on end, or a spider, poised in a menacing posture. This perfectly balanced composition at once reaches into Calder’s past, evoking the dynamic spirit of his early circus creations, and portends the many public commissions and monumental sculptures that Calder produced in the 1960’s.

During the coming decade, Alexander Calder focused much of his attention and efforts on producing monumental sculptures, or what he called agrandissements.  These forms, which would complement the particular architectural space which they inhabited, became an easily recognizable component of the 20th Century landscape. Accustomed to creating mostly intimate, diminutive sculptures, Calder recognized early on that he could not simply replicate his previous style in larger formats. Rather, he needed to create small metal maquettes that could be enlarged to tremendous scale. Calder would tinker and experiment in this smaller scale, resulting in intimately proportioned, private miniatures of his famous public projects. In this way, Calder was able to properly engineer these large works and solve the structural issues posed by their scale, all while conceiving and articulating their incredible biomorphic and dynamic forms.