See Rare, Mesmerizing Alexander Calder Sculptures at Dominique Lévy

Some works have not been on view since the artist's MoMA show in 1943.

13
View Slideshow
0/0
Portrait of Alexander Calder making a mobile.
Image: Courtesy of Dominique Lévy.
Alexander Calder, Untitled (1952).
Photo: Courtesy of Dominique Lévy.
Alexander Calder, Caged Stone and Fourteen Dots (1948).
Photo: Courtesy of Dominique Lévy.
Alexander Calder, Untitled (1947).
Photo: courtesy of Dominique Lévy.
Alexander Calder, Untitled (1942).
Photo: Courtesy of Dominique Lévy.
Alexander Calder, Untitled (1934).
Photo: Courtesy of Dominique Lévy.
Alexander Calder, Cafritz Foundatin (magquette) (1966).
Photo: Courtesy of Dominique Lévy.
Alexander Calder, Untitled (1952).
Photo: Courtesy of Dominique Lévy.
Alexander Calder, Red Toadstool (1949).
Photo: Courtesy of Dominique Lévy.
Alexander Calder, Eight Black Dots (1950).
Photo: Courtesy of Dominique Lévy.
Alexander Calder, Untitled (1947).
Photo: Courtesy of Dominique Lévy.
Alexander Calder, Haverford Variation (1944).
Photo: Courtesy of Dominqiue Lévy.
Alexander Calder, Untitled (1952).
Photo: Courtesy of Dominique Lévy.

“Intimacy”is not a word that first comes to mind when thinking about Alexander Calder‘s steel work. But when you step inside Dominique Levy‘s immaculate townhouse galleries on the Upper East Side, where some 40 rarely-seen Calder maquettes are on view, intimate is exactly how it feels.

Collaborating with architect Santiago Calatrava, who (with help from his son) created curvaceous platforms for the miniatures, (see Oculus World Trade Center Transportation Hub is $2 Billion Over Budget and Seven Years Late) Lévy presents two floors of Calder’s miniature (the smallest work is 1.5 inches tall) to table-top sized sculptures. Many have not been on view since his MoMA retrospective in 1943.

Walking into the second and third floors of the 73rd street townhouse, which the gallery shares with Galerie Perrotin, who are on the first floor, the viewer is immediately struck by how tranquil the atmosphere is. Armed with white booties to ensure the stark white floors weren’t tainted by the rainy streets of New York, artnet news quietly perused the space taking our time to examine each alluring hand-made object.

Indeed, Sandy Rower, the artist’s grandson and head of the Calder Foundation told the press pointing to a specific 1944 yellow, blue, and red piece that can be disassembled and reassembled, “it’s not only a beautiful sculpture but it has a history and tells something about his [Calder’s] sensibility.”

The particular piece was a gift from Calder to one of his architect friends, Rower says. In his autobiography, Calder laments the fact that he never made a vest with colored pockets where one could put the pieces in the corresponding pockets and then travel with the vest, to reassemble the piece at a different location.

It’s these humorous and tender details about Calder that make his work at once delicate and strong, emotional but somewhat detached.

One piece in particular struck this balance—a cigar box filled with five very tiny mobiles Calder gifted to his wife, Louisa, for her forty-third birthday.

Alongside the clear plexiglass box encasing the piece is a wall text, a blurb taken from Jed Perl’s essay on the exhibition that eloquently reads, “Love, whatever its public manifestations, is always in some sense a secret between two people—a big thing for them and a relatively small thing for everybody else…Calder found a powerful metaphor for the immensity of his most private feelings—his feelings for Louisa.”

“Multum in Parvo” opens at Dominique Lévy on 73rd and Madison Avenue on April 22 through June 13, 2015.

Alexander Calder, Louisa's 43rd Birthday Present (1948). Photo: Christie Chu.

Alexander Calder, Louisa’s 43rd Birthday Present (1948).
Photo: Christie Chu.


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share

Article topics