Google Doodle: Alexander Calder inventor of mobile sculptures

By Posted 22 Jul 2011, 07:33

We have had quite a few Google Doodle’s over the last few months as the search engine giant celebrates various things. Whether it is a famous person or event they can be very informative, we have even had playable ones in the past. Today’s Google Doodle celebrates what would have been the 113 birthday of Alexander Calder who has been credited with the invention of mobile sculptures among other achievements.

The American artist and sculptor was born in Lawnton, Pennsylvania in 1898 and lived until November 11 1976. As a student Calder moved on to New York and joined the Art Students League and worked for the National Police Gazette. One of his first assignments was sketching the Ringing Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. This started his fascination with the circus which was reflected in his later work.

He moved to Paris in 1926 where he established a studio, and started to make toys following advice from a Serbian toy merchant. Later that year he started to create his Cirque Calder which was a miniature circus made from wire amongst other things. He designed it to go into suitcases and being portable he could perform with it on both sides of the Atlantic.

This was the start of Calder’s interest in wire sculpture and kinetic art, with a good eye for engineering balance of the sculptures. With some experimenting he went on to design full kinetic sculptures moved by cranks and pulleys.

During the 50s Calder concentrated on producing monumental sculptures with “.125” at JFK Airport in 1957, and “la Spirale” for UNESCO in Paris in 1958. In 1971 his sculpture called WTC Stabile was placed at the entrance of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The sculpture was eventually moved to the front of the 7 World Trade Center before it was destroyed on September 11, 2001.

Alexander Calder was also a painter and was commissioned to paint a full size DC-8-62 in 1973 by Braniff International Airways. Then in 1975 he painted a Boeing 727-291 as a tribute to the US Bicentennial. In what was the first vehicle in the BMW Art Car project he painted a BMW 3.0 CSL in 1975.

For more information and some images of Alexander Calder’s art work head over to Wikipedia. What do you think of today’s Google Doodle?