ALEXANDER CALDER Élements démontables (maquette)

Price Available Upon Request


Élements démontables (maquette)
signed on the bottom white element and inscribed w – 1 on the top white element
sheet metal, wire and paint
11½ by 9½ by 7⅞ in. 29.2 by 24.1 by 20 cm.
Executed circa 1973.

Fourth National Bank & Trust Company, Wichita, Kansas (commissioned from the artist)
Corporate Collection, USA (acquired through the merger of the above)
Sotheby’s, New York, March 9, 2012, lot 153 (consigned by the above)
Private Collection, New York (acquired from the above sale)
Private Collection

Maurice Bruzeau, Calder à Saché, Paris, 1975, pls. 240 & 242, p. 245, illustrated

A blend of the ethereal and the mechanical, Élements démontables (maquette) typifies the artist’s unique vision for sculpture. The elegant work is an alternate model for the large-scale mobile commissioned by the Fourth National Bank and Trust Company, located in Wichita, Kansas. Hovering in apparent weightlessness within the spatial field of the viewer, Élements démontables (maquette) expresses a series of gestures that allude to kinetic possibility: gentle fins, parting lines, a pierced element. Calder painted the wiring a bright red, drawing attention to the graceful network of lines connecting the planar, geometric elements painted in the artist’s signature bold white, black, yellow, and red hues. The resulting synthesis—a delicate formal balance between weight and counterweight, form and structure, element and air—is the foundation of Calder’s singular aesthetic.

In the 1940s, Calder began piercing select elements of his mobiles in an effort to enhance their transparency, to garner greater animation and to adjust the overall physical and visual weight of each work. The nimble movement of Élements démontables (maquette) is heightened by the aperture in one of its white elements; with just a soft current of air drifting through the opening, the mobile will begin to rotate smoothly and organically. “When I cut out my plates I have two things in mind,” Calder explained. “I want them to be more alive, and I think about balance. Which explains the holes in the plates. The most important thing is that the mobile be able to catch the air. It has to be able to move.” (Alexander Calder in 1959, cited in: XXE siècle, Homage à Calder, Paris 1972, p. 98).

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Currently Available for Private Sale

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