The Intimate World of Alexander Calder

Calder cover

An old friend came home from the Library with me last week. This is another book that has spent long periods of time at my house over the last few years. Renewed and renewed again until the overdue fines loomed. My dreams of having a copy live with me permanently were crushed upon finding that one was available on Alibris for $600!!!!!!! More recently, there was one for $200 some, but even that will take a small lottery win. All in all though, it made me feel honored that the Library trusts me with their copy. Just in case you and your Library are not so fortunate, here are a few pages:

(Click on each image for larger view)

calder mini-mobilesI love this set of mini-mobiles with it’s own storage box. The mobiles are small enough to fit in ones palm, and were a gift from Calder to his wife Louisa for her fiftieth birthday. The book is full of sweet things he created for her as well as other family and friends.

calder silverware Silverware forged from wire, reminiscent of his wire drawing/sculptures. Beautiful and it looks pretty functional too. Simple and Elegant. There is a whole chapter of kitchen implements and photographs of their homes. They clearly surrounded themselves with things they both made and used daily. Not surprised that there was little separation between art and life for Calder.

calder belts Belt buckles and belts. Before discovering this book, I knew Calder had made some jewelry, but I had no idea how much. I love being able to page through this enormous tome and see how ideas and techniques from one project are so intimately related to another. The wire drawings are related to the silverware, which is related to these belt buckles, which are related to his jewelry. It’s so wonderful to have such an extensive, delightful peek into an artist’s head.

calder earrings

Some lovely mobile-earrings, entitled “winged victory.” I love the motion, informality, and playfulness of these. There are a good hundred pages of jewelry; lots of necklaces, earrings, and pins, but also rings and even tiaras! I wish I could share each and every page with you, but I don’t think copyright laws would look kindly on that. I hope I am within the scope of “for purposes of review” here.

calder bracelets

A few bracelets in brass and gold. Yet another example of why I love Calder: Whether the material is precious or not, he gave it the same careful technique and playful sense of design. The gold piece looks as effortless as the brass, while the brass has the same elegance and natural sense of line that the gold does. Brilliant!

If only I could convince someone to reprint this….

edited to add:  For a review/gush of a newer book on Calder’s jewelry see here.

Previous Post
Leave a comment


  1. Thanks for posting this – I keep meaning to do more book “reviews” on my website like this – it’s such a nice way to share information with others.

    I wrote a response to your comment on my blog that might interest you, by the way. Thanks for your nice comments on Kristin Shiga’s work.

  2. I was searching and searching the net for images of the kitchen implements I loved in House and Garden growing up, shown in the photos of Pedro Guerrero, of Calder’s home in the south of France. Like you, I’m an artist and the Guerrero book is beyond my means, and this book, which I now lust for, is too.
    thanks for sharing the images. I doubt my library has this, but I’ll be checking!

  3. Good luck with the search at your library! My wish for a reprint was partially fulfilled with the recent publication of Calder Jewelry, which is MUCH more affordable than this and which I’ll be writing more about soon. Perhaps we can put a wish out there for a book on his household items (and toys!). With the current interest in DIY and affordable design in housewares, I think such a book would be immensely successful!

    thanks for stopping by,

  4. great jewerley lovin it mind and bi the way luv u

  1. Recent Provocations « tether
  2. On the Coffee Table: Calder Jewelry « tether
  3. alexander calder, circus master « the republic of less
  4. alexander calder belt buckles | an eclectic eccentric

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: