Alexander Calder's Abstract Paintings (VIDEO)

In this video, Calder Foundation president Alexander S. C. Rower and Fondation Beyeler curator Raphael Bouvier discuss the final exhibition of a series of three Calder Galleries at Fondation Beyeler in Riehen (Basel, Switzerland), which started in the Summer of 2012. The third and final Calder Gallery at Fondation Beyeler has its focus on Alexander Calder's first nonobjective paintings in dialogue with his sculptures from the 1930s. Alexander Calder's abstract paintings are largely unknown, but they mark the decisive transition from figuration to abstraction in the artist's work. At the same time, they herald his first abstract sculptures in which he progressively introduced not only actual motion, but also unprecedented concepts such as sound and viewer intervention.

Alexander Calder moved to Paris in 1926. Following his visit to Piet Mondrian's studio in October of 1930, Calder created his first abstract paintings during a period of just two weeks. In these works, he reduced his pictorial compositions to a few basic components through which he examined elementary spatial relations between form, color, lines and planes. He explored central themes and motifs, which he soon transferred to the medium of sculpture, leading to his abstract wire objects, his motorized wall panels and his invention of the mobile in 1931.


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