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Alexander Calder (1898-1976) was an American artist best known for his invention of the kinetic sculptures known as mobiles. Calder moved to Paris in 1926, where he was introduced to the European avant-garde through performances of his Cirque Calder (1926–1931). With these performances, along with his wire sculptures, Calder connected with notable artists Marcel Duchamp, Jean Arp, and Fernand Léger. Most notably, it was Duchamp who penned the term mobile—a pun in French meaning both “motion” and “motive”—during a visit to Calder’s Paris studio in 1931. Calder's earliest mobiles were powered by motors but soon transitioned to designed pieces that moved by air currents or human interaction. Over the course of seven decades, along with his mobiles, he also produced paintings, monumental outdoor sculptures, works on paper, domestic objects, and jewelry.


Today, his works are held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Tate Gallery in London.

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