ALEXANDER CALDERAmerican 1898 - 1976

Composition in red is remarkable amongst Calder’s body of work for its spontaneity and unconstrained brilliant colour. Its dazzling expanse of red and broad swathes of yellow conjure a rolling landscape that is unrestrained by formula or painting surface. This visceral aspect stands in contrast to many of Calder’s gouaches, where colour appears almost graphically in geometric shapes or flat, static planes. Painted in Touraine in 1961, this work is significantly earlier than the majority of pieces currently on the market. Calder gifted it to his close friend and collaborator, the writer Pierre Halet, and the work formed part of a 2006 exhibition held in Halet’s honour at the Château de Tours.
Provenance:
Pierre Halet, France (gifted from the artist in 1961)
Private collection, France

Exhibited:
Tours, Château de Tours, 'Absence et présences', 1st April-7th 2006;
Tours, Château de Tours, 'Calder en Touraine', 6th June-19th October 2008

ALEXANDER CALDERAmerican 1898 - 1976

One of the most celebrated artists of the twentieth century, Calder produced works that are both ground-breaking and light-hearted, imbuing his paintings and sculptures with humour and playfulness. His earliest sculptures were motor-driven – influenced by the Constructivists, they read as self-contained miniature universes. It was only after coming into contact with Surrealism that Calder took an interest in organic movement, borrowing shapes and motions from the natural world, from planetary trajectories to dancing foliage. He cited Miró as an important influence and indeed his paintings and mobiles exhibit the same buoyancy, wit and whimsy, conveying a sense of movement through serpentine, unbroken lines.

His paintings were parallel to his innovative sculptures, which Marcel Duchamp first described as “mobiles”. Composed of bent and twisted wires that “draw” three-dimensional figures in space, Calder’s mobiles embody the constant motion of life, enacting our own experience of movement, temporality and chance. His gouaches capture the kineticism of his mobiles, translating their suspended geometric shapes into organic forms, such as suns or stars.

By the 1950s Calder achieved international significance for his radical redefinition of sculpture, allowing him to expand his studios in the United States and France and create works on a monumental scale. His work can be found in numerous international public collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Calder's public commissions are on view in cities throughout the world, and his work has been the subject of hundreds of shows and retrospectives, including 'Alexander Calder: 1898–1976' at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. (1998); 'Calder: Gravity and Grace' at the Guggenheim Bilbao (2003); Calder at Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul (2013); and 'Calder and Abstraction: From Avant-Garde to Iconic' at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2014).