Installation of Outdoor Sculpture by Legendary American Artist Alexander Calder


Princeton University Art Museum Presents Installation of Outdoor Sculpture by Legendary American Artist Alexander Calder

On loan from a major private collection, the works will be on view on the Museum lawn Jan. 18 through Oct. 26, 2014

PRINCETON, NJ –Widely considered one of the most important, original and influential artists of the 20th century, Alexander Calder (1898–1976) is known for having invented the mobile as well as for his “stabile” constructions, non-kinetic abstract sculptures that were often monumental in scale and designed to be placed outdoors. Two landmark stabiles—Man and The Kite That Never Flew, both from 1967 and made of painted steel—will be on view adjacent to the Princeton University Art Museum’s entrance from Jan. 18 through October 28, 2014. The sculptures are on loan from the Fisher Family Collection.

“Calder’s heroically scaled metal sculptures are among his most lasting achievements and place him among the masters of modern art,” said Princeton University Art Museum Director James Steward. “We have long regarded the Museum’s front lawn as a kind of outdoor gallery, and thanks to the generosity of the Fisher family, we are able to make these magnificent works—which bridge early and late 20th-century sculptural idioms in an extraordinarily powerful and elegant way—available to the Princeton University community and to visitors to our campus.”

Trained as an engineer at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., Calder was fascinated by the intersection of art, technology and science and went on to develop some of the world’s first wholly abstract sculptures—works that are, in Calder’s own words, “like nothing in life.” He spent his early career in Paris, where his contact with several leading artists of the era, including Piet Mondrian, Joan Miró and Marcel Duchamp, exposed him to the era’s progressive art movements, including Surrealism, Dada, De Stijl and Constructivism. Calder first gained renown with his distinctive mobiles—initially mechanized and later ingeniously balanced compositions of suspended sheet metal that respond to air currents. The subsequent stabiles—a term coined by fellow artist Jean Arp—combine the whimsy, poetry and avant-garde expressiveness of the mobiles with the use of industrial materials and a sophisticated minimalism that presages subsequent generations of artists.

The two loaned works join Princeton University’s own Calder stabile, Five Disks: One Empty (1969–70), which forms part of the University’s distinguished Putnam Collection of outdoor sculpture. Created by Calder especially for the University at the request of his friend Alfred Barr (Princeton Class of 1922 and the founding director of the Museum of Modern Art), the piece is sited in Fine Hall Plaza, in the natural sciences neighborhood of the campus.  For more information on Princeton University’s outdoor sculpture collection, please visit:

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About the Princeton University Art Museum

Founded in 1882, the Princeton University Art Museum is one of the leading university art museums in the country. From the founding gift of a collection of porcelain and pottery, the collections have grown to more than 82,000 works of art that range from ancient to contemporary and concentrate geographically on the Mediterranean regions, western Europe, China, the United States, and Latin America.

Committed to advancing Princeton’s teaching and research missions, the Art Museum serves as a gateway to the University for visitors from around the world. The Museum is intimate in scale yet expansive in scope, offering a respite from the rush of daily life, a revitalizing experience of extraordinary works of art, and an opportunity to delve deeply into the study of art and culture.

The Princeton University Art Museum is located at the heart of the Princeton campus, a short walk from the shops and restaurants of Nassau Street. Admission is free. Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. The Museum is closed Mondays and major holidays.

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