Arp to Warhol

19 November 2016

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Alexander Calder, 1898-1976

Ballons en Mer. Balloons over the Sea. c.1969/70

Circa 1969

Original lithograph in colours. c.1969/70. Signed in pencil. Numbered 149 in pencil from the edition of 150 (plus a very few proofs). Probably drawn and printed at the Atelier Mourlot, Paris.

Note: This lithograph is drawn in exceptionally large format. Such large scale prints by Calder are very unusual.

Excellent impression  with rich fresh colours. On pale cream wove paper without watermark. Excellent condition. Drawn virtually to full sheet size. Sheet: 1016 x 745mm. Image: 988 x 735mm.

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Calder’s creativity as a young man was driven by his fascination with the way that a machine could be made which would generate a sequence of inter-active movements in separate elements of a construction. The first elements of these constructions were largely geometric but after moving his studio from the city to rural Connecticut his attention moved increasingly to more anthropomorphic shapes. It was from this basis that he created his first ‘mobiles’. These randomly moving sculptural space-structures are one of the most widely renowned and admired creations of mid 20th century art.

Alongside his constructions and mobiles Calder was also throughout his life actively working in the two-dimensional media of drawing and painting. From the 1950’s onwards, when he was spending an increasing period based in Paris he was also attracted into working in colour lithography. The freedom of brushstroke possible in lithography permitted him to use the ‘drip’ and ‘flow’ elements of his painting linked to a special luminosity of colour.

Writing in 1951 Calder stated: ‘The idea of detached bodies floating in space, of different sizes and densities, some at rest, whilst others move in peculiar manners, seems to me to be the ideal source of form’. This is the underlying ethos of his mobiles and it is also the underlying concept of such works as ‘Ballons en Mer’.

 
 
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