NUDE BALANCING ON ONE FOOT
Alexander Calder
PHILADELPHIA 1898 - 1976 NEW YORK
NUDE BALANCING ON ONE FOOT
1944
INK AND GRAPHITE ON PAPER
SIGNED, DATED AND INSCRIBED LOWER RIGHT: "WITH LOVE TO GWLADY SANDY CALDER 44"
28.7 X 26.4 CM
PROVENANCE

GIFT OF THE ARTIST TO GWLADYS BROOKS, 1944


PERLS GALLERY, NEW YORK


PRIVATE COLLECTION, PALM BEACH, 1986


ANON. SALE: SOTHEBY'S NEW YORK, 11 OCTOBER 2006, LOT 199


PROARTE GALLERY, MIAMI, 2006


PRIVATE COLLECTION, USA

LITERATURE

THIS WORK IS REGISTERED IN THE ARCHIVES OF THE CALDER FOUNDATION, NEW YORK, UNDER APLLICATION N° A08504.

Born in Philadelphia in 1898 to a family of successful artists in the third generation, Alexander Calder was confronted with the theme of art at an early age. The versatile Calder nevertheless initially renounced the artistic milieu and embarked on training as an engineer instead. It was not long, however, before his origins caught up with him: after receiving his diploma he began attending the Art Students League in New York and devoted himself increasingly to drawing. He was fascinated by the world of the circus and it was from there that he drew his motifs at the start of his artistic career. His first exhibition took place in 1926 at The Artists Gallery in New York. Even then his personal style was already apparent, the style he would develop further in his famous wire sculptures and his drawings. Particularly his contact to such artists as Marcel Duchamp and Hans Arp had a strong influence on Calder’s artistic development. It was Duchamp, for example, who gave his motor-driven wire sculptures the name mobiles; a short time later, Arp coined the term stabiles for the non-motorized objects. The mobiles and stabiles would eventually form the core of Calder’s art.


 


Rendered with fine lines and reduced to the barest essentials, the figure depicted here appears to hover almost weightlessly against its background. Entirely in keeping with the characteristics of Calder’s artistic work as a whole, this wonderful drawing unites the quiescent stability of his wire figures – the so-called stabiles – and the lightness of his famous moving mobiles. The figure, balancing on one foot, thus looks like a portrait of the artist’s so-called Standing Mobiles. Yet it also responds to the central theme of flowing movement that not only underlies the mobiles but is also encountered again and again in the artist’s wire figures, sculptures and drawings. The work seen here is special by virtue of the affectionate dedication to Gladys Brooks that lends it a very personal touch. The drawing, which Calder once presented to the American art collector as a gift, is a testimony to the incomparable sense of balance and aesthetic that can be attributed to the works of this prominent artist.