31st July – 14th September 2019
Huxley-Parlour Gallery are pleased to present an exhibition of works on paper by Alexander Calder. While Calder is remembered for his work in three dimensions, as both a sculptor and as the originator of the mobile artwork, his works on paper display a true virtuosity of two-dimensional abstraction.
The exhibition will include fifteen works made in gouache and ink that highlight Calder’s exploration of bold primary colours and abstracted form, as well as his interest in natural and celestial motifs. His recurring use of basic geometric forms, such as circles and pyramids, show Calder’s commitment to purity of colour, line and form. The spirals of his early wire sculptures appear in a number of works, conveying Calder’s on-going interest in kinetics.
Alexander Calder began his artistic career as a painter, but only created his first series of works made in gouache during a yearlong stay in Aix-en-Provence, France in 1953, in his mid-sixties. He would continue to work in this medium for the rest of his life, making works on paper in parallel to his sculptural practice. The works exhibited display how using this more immediate medium, Calder could more easily transcribe the bold and vivid visual vocabulary of his sculptures into a two-dimensional form. Painting quickly and freely, he used exuberant lines and planes of his trademark primary colours, to describe the geometry and patterns, as well as the natural and metaphysical themes that inspired him.
Alexander Calder (1898-1976) is one of the most celebrated artists of the twentieth century and remembered for his unique contribution to Modernism. He was primarily known for his large-scale sculptures, with notable examples including .125 (1957) for JFK Airport, Spirale (1958) commissioned for UNESCO in Paris and El Sol Rojo (1968) commissioned for the Olympic Games in Mexico City. Calder also produced paintings and prints, miniatures, theatres designs, jewellery, tapestries and political posters throughout his career. During his lifetime, Calder’s varied artistic output was celebrated in a number of retrospective exhibitions including an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1943, the Guggenheim, New York in 1964 and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago in 1974. His work is included in the permanent collections of several international institutions including the Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. He was also the recipient of several awards, representing the United States at the Venice Biennale in 1952, receiving an Honorary Doctarate from Harvard University, as well as the Legion d’Honneur in 1974 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 1977.