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Alexander Calder Biography

Alexander Calder was one of America’s most influential sculptors. He is known for his vibrant and playful public works as well as many moving sculptures which inquire into the nature of chance. Calder was born into an artistic family in Pennsylvania in 1898. He studied mechanical engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology in 1915. He subsequently worked as a draftsman for the Edison Company, and a hydraulic engineer.

It was in 1930s Paris where his artistic output first won widespread attention. New York’s Museum of Modern Art soon developed an interest in Calder’s work, and awarded him a retrospective in 1943. This was followed by important solo exhibitions at the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum in 1964, and Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art in 1974.

Alexander Calder produced many prints, his first prints being created in the 1960s. Most of Alexander Calder’s prints were lithograph prints. All of Alexander Calder prints are original prints as Calder saw printmaking as a distinct medium to create artworks.

In 1976, as a protest against the Vietnam war, Calder refused to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom offered to him by President Gerald Ford. It was awarded to him after he died the following year. In 1998, the US Postal Service recognized Calder’s contribution to American culture with a set of commemorative 32-cent stamps.

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