Book It: Alexander Calder Jewelry

One of my early childhood memories is of standing in the Whitney museum gazing up at Alexander Calder’s (1898–1976) mobiles and “stabiles” (stationary objects). From there, I grew to love his wire-wrapped sculptures and circus figures. So I was pretty excited to learn that the Yale University Press, in coordination with the Calder Foundation, recently released Calder Jewelry.


Calder Jewelry
Via Yale University Press

Calder Jewelry
is edited by the artist’s grandsons Alexander S.C. Rower and Holton Rower, with contributions by Mark Rosenthal and Jane Adlin and photographs by Maria Robledo (Holton’s wife). The book was intended as a preamble to the forthcoming exhibit on the subject, bowing at the Norton Museum of Art in February:

Brass-wire bracelet, circa 1940
Photo via the Calder Foundation
 

Soon, the Rowler brothers saw the greater potential of their grandfather’s jewelry legacy. As the New York Times quoted Holton in its Holiday 2007 magazine, “I realized the jewelry was not an idle hobby. This was a serious occupation. I went to my brother and said, ‘This isn’t a catalog, this is a massive book.’ “

The exhibit is sure to be a treat, and the book promises to be a fascinating read: It includes 300+ of the 1,500+ pieces of jewelry that Calder made (his first one was at age 8!), and stories about the art-world luminaries who collected them. 
 


Photo from Calder Jewelry

Via Yale University Press

 

Calder held a degree in engineering, and his acumen plays a distinct role in his work. Also, be sure to see the singe of surrealism. In reference to Calder’s “Constellation With Red Object” sculpture, the Museum of Modern Art notes “the persistent influence Surrealism wielded on his art.” Look no further than the bone necklace and hanger earring for proof.

 


Photo from Calder Jewelry

Via Yale University Press

 

Every once in a while the art world uncovers a treasure, and this one intersects with jewelry. How lucky for us.

 

Silver and steel wire Figa Pin, circa 1940

Via the Calder Foundation

Archive:

Book It: Fall Reading

Related:
Fashion + Jewelry: Surrealism