Calder Foundation

Archive

Life period
1930–1936

Type
All

See highlights from 1930–1936 on the timeline Shift to Abstraction


Works

Chronology 121
After 15 August 1935

Calder presents Bonnie Bird, one of the lead dancers of Panorama, a brooch in the shape of a bird.

Bell-Kanner 1998, 80
After 27 September 1935

Calder and Louisa visit Charlotte Whitney Allen in Rochester, New York. While there, Calder constructs the large standing mobile she had commissioned for her garden and he gives a performance of Cirque Calder.

CF, Calder to Allen, 24 September
Winter 1935

The Calders spend the winter in an apartment at 244 East Eighty-sixth Street and Second Avenue, New York. Calder rents a small store and converts it into a studio.

Calder 1966, 156; Calder to Thomson, April 1936
Interior of Calder’s apartment on 244 East Eighty-sixth Street (1935)
Interior of Calder's apartment on 244 East Eighty-sixth Street, New York, c. 1935; on the mantelpiece is 6 Woods (1935).
Interior of Calder's apartment on 244 East Eighty-sixth Street, New York, c. 1935; on the mantelpiece is 6 Woods (1935).
5 December 1935

Thomas H. Fisher, husband of choreographer Ruth Page, writes to Calder: Ruth [Page] and I have the novel idea that you should construct for her a large scale ‘mobile’ to be used alone on the stage, with music and lights between her ballets. The idea would be to enlarge such a

mobile as the one I saw in the Museum of Modern Art to stage proportions using different colored objects in motion and then playing lights on the mobile from the wings and elsewhere in the theatre. The music would, perhaps, be something like Varese or something else which would be suitable to the particular mobile being displayed.

CF, Fisher to Calder, 5 December
Winter 1935

Calder again collaborates with Graham, making a group of six mobiles—”visual preludes”—for her dance Horizons.

CF, project file; "Martha Graham and Dance Group," 1936
1935

24 December: The large ‘overhead’ mobile should be in its box in your basement (awaiting my pleasure). Do you think you would care to put it up anywhere during la semaine folle—only a suggestive question—because Ruth Page wishes me to do an object which she can use, here,

and in Chicago, to pinch-hit for one of her solo dances—and I thought of that one.

CF, Calder to Austin, 24 December

1936

1936

Page writes to Calder: I have been experimenting with my brass mobile which you sent here and have decided that it is much more beautiful without me than with me. Any movements of mine just spoil it. However, we tried it just in the room here with lights and music and it is a thrilling dance all

by itself and we would have to produce it just by itself with lights and music. Blow an electric fan on it so that it moves very slightly. But it seems to me there should be a little group of 2 or 3 to make an impression—like 3 short dances.

CF, Page to Calder
January 1936

George Platt Lynes photographs Calder.

CF, photography file
10–29 February 1936

“Mobiles and Objects by Alexander Calder” is held at the Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York.

CF, exhibition file
15 February 1936

First Hartford Music Festival, Wadsworth Atheneum, presents Erik Satie’s symphonic drama Socrate. Virgil Thomson and A. Everett “Chick” Austin, Jr., have commissioned Calder to create the mobile decor for the performance. As the singers stand still at either end of the

stage, Calder’s simple geometric objects in space enact a series of movements. Later that night the festival continues with Paper Ball: Le Cirque des Chiffoniers, designed by Pavel Tchelitchew and featuring thirteen processions of paper costumes created especially for the event. For Soby’s procession, Calder contributes A Nightmare Side Show, a suite of animal costumes designed to wear over evening clothes.

CF, project file
A Nightmare Side Show (1936)
Paper costumes for A Nightmare Side Show, one of thirteen group processions performed during Paper Ball: Le Cirque des Chiffonniers, First Hartford Festival, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, 15 February 1936
Paper costumes for A Nightmare Side Show, one of thirteen group processions performed during Paper Ball: Le Cirque des Chiffonniers, First Hartford Festival, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, 15 February 1936
23 February 1936

Graham premieres Horizons at the Guild Theatre in New York City. The program note reads: The “Mobiles,” designed by Alexander Calder, are a new conscious use of space. They are employed in Horizons as visual preludes to the dances in this suite. The dances do not interpret the “Mobiles,” nor

do the “Mobiles” interpret the dances. They are employed to enlarge the sense of horizon.

CF, project file; "Martha Graham and Dance Group," 1936
2 March–19 April 1936

“Cubism and Abstract Art” is presented by Alfred H. Barr, Jr., at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Calder is represented by three works: Objet Volant, a large mobile commissioned to hang on the flagpole outside the museum, announcing the show; A Universe; and a mobile.

CF, exhibition file
Cubism and Abstract Art (1936)
Objet Volant (1935) hanging at the entrance to the Museum of Modern Art’s 1936 exhibition Cubism and Abstract Art, for which Calder was commissioned to make the sculpture
Objet Volant (1935) hanging at the entrance to the Museum of Modern Art’s 1936 exhibition Cubism and Abstract Art, for which Calder was commissioned to make the sculpture
2 April 1936

Calder performs Cirque Calder in New York at the Pierre Matisse Gallery.

AAA, Calder to Bunce, 26 March
24–25 April 1936

Erik Satie’s Socrate with Calder’s mobile decor is performed at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

CF, project file
Sketch of set design for Socrate (1937)
Sketch illustrating the set design for Erik Satie's Socrate, performed at First Hartford Festival, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, February 1936
Sketch illustrating the set design for Erik Satie's Socrate, performed at First Hartford Festival, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, February 1936
22–29 May 1936

Galerie Charles Ratton, Paris, presents “Exposition surréaliste d’objets.” Calder contributes a mobile.

CF, exhibition file
Exposition Surréaliste d’Objets (1936)
Installation photograph showing Untitled (c. 1934), Exposition Surréaliste d'Objets, Galerie Charles Ratton, Paris, 1936Photograph by Laurence Nadeline
Installation photograph showing Untitled (c. 1934), Exposition Surréaliste d'Objets, Galerie Charles Ratton, Paris, 1936Photograph by Laurence Nadeline
11 June–4 July 1936

Roland Penrose’s “International Surrealist Exhibition” at his New Burlington Galleries, London, includes two sculptures by Calder, among them Requin et Baleine. André Breton writes the preface to the catalogue.

CF, exhibition file
July 1936

The Calders vacation at Eastham on Cape Cod.

AAA, Calder to Bunce, 13 July
Fall 1936

Julien Levy’s Surrealism, the first English text on the subject, is published in New York. Levy writes: It is impossible accurately to estimate the relative importance of the younger surrealists, until aided by the perspective of time. Outstanding among the newcomers seem to

be Gisèle Prassinos, Richard Oelze, Hans Bellmer, Leonor Fini, Alexander Calder, and Joseph Cornell . . . Calder is sometimes surrealist and sometimes abstractionist. It is to be hoped that he may soon choose in which direction he will throw the weight of his talents.

Levy 1936, 28
Winter 1936

Calder is commissioned by architect Paul Nelson to design a trophy for CBS’s Annual Amateur Radio Award. The work is William S. Paley Trophy for Amateur Radio.

CF, project file; Calder 1966, 155
7 December 1936–17 January 1937

Calder’s Praying Mantis and Object with Yellow Background are included in the exhibition “Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism,” organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

CF, exhibition file
15 December 1936

Calder performs Cirque Calder in his apartment at 244 East Eighty-sixth Street and Second Avenue, New York.

AAA, Calder to Bunce, 9 December

Bibliography 119

1936

Jewell, Edward Alden. “Hither and Yon with the Spotlight.” New York Times, 16 February 1936.

Newspaper

Sayre, A. H. “Mobiles and Objects in the Abstract Language.” Art News, vol. 34 (22 February 1936).

Magazine

Lane, J. W. “Exhibition of Mobiles, Pierre Matisse Gallery.” Parnassus, vol. 8 (March 1936).

Magazine

The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Cubism and Abstract Art. Exhibition catalogue. 1936. Edited by Alfred H. Barr, Jr.

Group Exhibition Catalogue

The Gallery of Living Art at the Paul Reinhardt Galleries, New York. Five Contemporary American Concretionists: Biederman, Calder, Ferren, Morris, Shaw. Exhibition catalogue. 1936. Text by A. E. Gallatin.

Group Exhibition Catalogue

“Martha Graham and Dance Group.” Dance Observer (April 1936).

Magazine

Axis, no. 5 (Spring 1936).

Magazine

The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Modern Painters and Sculptors as Illustrators. Exhibition catalogue. 1936.

Group Exhibition Catalogue

Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts. Art of the Machine Age. Exhibition catalogue. 1936.

Group Exhibition Catalogue

Galerie Charles Ratton, Paris. Exposition surréaliste d’objets. Exhibition catalogue. 1936. Text by André Breton.

Group Exhibition Catalogue

Abbott, Jere. “A Collage and a Mobile.” Bulletin of Smith College Museum of Art, no. 17 (June 1936).

Magazine

Transition, no. 24 (June 1936).

Magazine

New Burlington Galleries, London. International Surrealist Exhibition. Exhibition catalogue. 1936.

Group Exhibition Catalogue

“Well in Farmington Goes Modern.” Hartford Daily Times, 27 June 1936.

Newspaper

Harper’s Bazaar (July 1936).

Magazine

“Roaming Mobiles: Museum Tours Art Form Devised with Engineering Skill.” The Literary Digest (22 August 1936).

Magazine

Sirató, Charles. “Manifeste Dimensioniste.” La Revue N+1 (c. Autumn 1936).

Magazine

The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism. Exhibition catalogue. 1936. Preface by Alfred H. Barr, Jr.

Group Exhibition Catalogue

“Talk of the Town: The Fantastics.” New Yorker (12 December 1936).

Magazine