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In the fall of 1931, a significant turning point in Calder's artistic career occurred when he created his first truly kinetic sculpture and gave form to an entirely new type of art.
The first of these objects moved by systems of cranks and motors, and were dubbed "mobiles" by Marcel Duchamp—in French mobile refers to both "motion" and "motive." Calder soon abandoned the mechanical aspects of these works when he realized he could fashion mobiles that would undulate on their own with the air's currents. Portfolio of lithographs by Calder, Chillida, Guinovart, Miró, Ràfols-Casamada, Tàpies, Vedova, Viladecans.
Calder was encouraged to create, and from the age of eight he always had his own workshop wherever the family lived.
For Christmas in 1909, Calder presented his parents with two of his first sculptures, a tiny dog and duck cut from a brass sheet and bent into formation.
The circus became a lifelong interest of Calder's, and after moving to Paris in 1926, he created his , a complex and unique body of art.
The assemblage included diminutive performers, animals, and props he had observed at the Ringling Bros. Fashioned from wire, leather, cloth, and other found materials, was designed to be manipulated manually by Calder.
Calder's earliest attempts at large, outdoor sculptures were also constructed in this decade.
These predecessors of his later imposing public works were much smaller and more delicate; the first attempts made for his garden were easily bent in strong winds. Corder; produced and written by David Idema; cinematography by Werner Schneider; narrated by Tom Saizan; edited by Bill Prins.
Because his father, Alexander Stirling Calder, received public commissions, the family traversed the country throughout Calder's childhood.
He met Louisa James (a grandniece of writer Henry James) on one of these steamer journeys and the two were married in January 1931.
He also became friendly with many prominent artists and intellectuals of the early twentieth century at this time, including Joan Miró, Fernand Léger, James Johnson Sweeney, and Marcel Duchamp.
Calder worked for several years after graduation at various jobs, including as a hydraulics and automotive engineer, timekeeper in a logging camp, and fireman in a ship's boiler room.
While serving in the latter occupation, on a ship from New York bound for San Francisco, Calder awoke on the deck to see both a brilliant sunrise and a scintillating full moon; each was visible on opposite horizons (the ship then lay off the Guatemalan coast).