Calder Foundation

Archive

Life period
1953–1962

Type
Chronology 116

See highlights from 1953–1962 on the timeline Large-scale Developments and Intercontinental Projects

1 May–13 June 1953

Frank Perls Gallery, Beverly Hills, exhibits “Alexander Calder Mobiles,” previously shown at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, from 22 March–19 April.

CF, exhibition file
1 July 1953

The Calder family arrives at Le Havre after an eight-day voyage on the Flandre. Also on board is Ernest Hemingway. He appeared suddenly and I presented myself, but it was not much use. For I had nothing to say to him and he had nothing to say to me. And that went for Louisa too.

CF, Calder to Valentin, 26 May; Calder 1966, 213
July 1953

The Calders arrive in the hamlet of Les Granettes in Aix-en-Provence. Their house, Mas des Roches, has little water and no electricity. Calder uses the carriage shed as his studio, where he works on gouaches. At a blacksmith shop nearby, he makes a series of large standing

mobiles conceived for the outdoors.

Calder 1966, 214
August 1953

The Calders visit Jean Davidson in the Loire Valley. Jean has purchased a mill house Moulin Vert, in the tiny town of Saché.

Calder 1966, 219–20; CF, Calder to Peggy, 8 September
3 September 1953

Calder performs Cirque Calder at Galerie Maeght Paris.

CF, photography file
Cirque Calder (1953)
Calder with Trapeze act performing Cirque Calder (1926–31), Galerie Maeght, 1953Photograph by Agnès Varda © Agnès Varda
Calder with Trapeze act performing Cirque Calder (1926–31), Galerie Maeght, 1953Photograph by Agnès Varda
30 September 1953

Calder receives a commission for a mobile from Middle East Airlines for their Beirut ticket office.

CF, Salaam to Calder, 30 September
November 1953

Back in Aix-en-Provence, the Calders find another house nearby, Malvalat, which has running water and electricity. Calder sets up a studio on the third floor and continues to concentrate on gouaches.

Calder 1966, 218; MoMA, Calder to Valentin, 2 November
Les Granettes, Christmas (1953)
The Calders and friends with L'empennage and Myxomatose, Les Granettes, Christmas 1953
The Calders and friends with L'empennage and Myxomatose, Les Granettes, Christmas 1953
7 November 1953

Calder leaves Aix for Paris to begin filming Cirque de Calder, directed by Jean Painlevé, with André Bac as cameraman.

CF, Calder to mother and the Sterns, 16 November
11 November 1953

The Calders visit Jean to see his renovated mill house in Saché. Calder agrees to a trade of three mobiles for François Premier, a dilapidated seventeenth-century stone house built adjoining a cliff on Jean’s property.

Calder, 1966, 220–21
Mid-November 1953

Calder rigs a studio in Jean’s mill and creates the mobiles. Through the winter, Jean organizes the renovation of François Premier and converts the wagon shed into a studio. A second small building across the street serves as the “gouacherie,” a painting studio.

Calder 1966, 219–20; CF, Calder to mother and the Sterns, 16 November
End of November 1953

Calder plans a trip to Beirut to visit his friend Henri Seyrig and to make the mobile commissioned by Middle East Airlines.

Calder 1966, 222; CF, Calder to mother and the Sterns, 16 November
15 December 1953–28 February 1954

Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo, Brazil, presents the II Bienal. United States representation consists of three exhibitions prepared by the Museum of Modern Art, New York: two group shows and a solo show devoted to works by Calder.

CF, exhibition file
II Bienal do Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (1953)
Museum visitors viewing Laocoön (1947), II Bienal do Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Museo de Arte Moderna, São Paulo, Brazil, 1953
Museum visitors viewing Laocoön (1947), II Bienal do Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Museo de Arte Moderna, São Paulo, Brazil, 1953

1954

1–5 January 1954

The Calder family travels on the Greek steamship Aurelia from Marseilles to Greece, where they spend the day in Athens.

CF, passport; Calder 1966, 222
8 January 1954

The Calders stop in Alexandria, Egypt.

CF, passport
10 January 1954

The Calders arrive in Beirut after a stop in Limassol, Cyprus. They reside with the Seyrigs for a month, visiting Syria and Jordan by car.

CF, passport; Calder 1966, 226
January 1954

Calder is given a room to serve as a studio in the Middle East Airlines ticket office, which is under construction.

Calder 1966, 226
Escutcheon (1954)
Calder working on Escutcheon, Beirut, Lebanon, 1954
Calder working on Escutcheon, Beirut, Lebanon, 1954
February 1954

American University, Beirut, exhibits works Calder made during the last month.

CF, exhibition file
4–6 February 1954

The Calder family visits Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

CF, passport; CF, Calder to mother, 9 February
11 February 1954

The Calders leave Beirut by plane and return to Aix.

CF, passport; Calder 1966, 227
15 March 1954

Calder leaves Paris, traveling through Amsterdam to Hanover, where an exhibition of his work is scheduled to open at the Kestnergesellschaft.

CF, passport
18 March–2 May 1954

Kestnergesellschaft exhibits “Alexander Calder: Stabiles, Mobiles, Gouaches.”

CF, exhibition file
19 March 1954

Calder returns to Paris.

CF, passport
7–13 May 1954

Louisa and daughter Mary sail from Le Havre to New York.

CF, passport
15–16 June 1954

Calder flies from Paris to New York; daughter Sandra remains in France.

CF, passport; Calder 1966, 231
24 July 1954

The renovation of François Premier is completed.

CF, Davidson to Calder, 24 July
19 August 1954

Calder’s dealer, Curt Valentin, dies in Italy.

Calder 1966, 231
28 August–15 November 1954

Belgiojoso, Peressutti & Rogers of Milan build a labyrinth for the X Triennale di Milano at the Uffici Palazzo dell’arte al Parco. Calder’s Le Cagoulard is installed in the center, and Saul Steinberg’s drawings are on the walls.

CF, project file
20 October 1954

Calder returns to France, arriving in Le Havre.

CF, passport
13 November–15 December 1954

Galerie Maeght, Paris, exhibits “Aix. Saché. Roxbury. 1953–54.” The catalogue texts are “Poème offert à Alexander Calder et à Louisa” by Henri Pichette and “Calder” by Frank Elgar.

CF, exhibition file
Aix. Saché. Roxbury. 1953–54 (1954)
Calder installing works for Aix. Saché. Roxbury. 1953–54, Galerie Maeght, Paris, 1954Photograph by Agnès Varda © Agnès Varda
Calder installing works for Aix. Saché. Roxbury. 1953–54, Galerie Maeght, Paris, 1954Photograph by Agnès Varda
23 November 1954

Calder leaves Paris and arrives in New York.

CF, passport
7 December 1954

A visa is issued for the Calders’ trip to India. Calder and Louisa have been invited by Gira Sarabhai, an architect and designer, to a tour of India in exchange for works of art.

Calder 1966, 231–32
29 December 1954

Calder and Louisa leave New York and arrive in Paris.

CF, passport

1955

9–10 January 1955

En route to Bombay, Calder and Louisa fly from Paris to Beirut. They visit the Seyrigs and show the film Works of Calder at the American University.

CF, passport; Calder 1966, 232
12 January 1955

The Calders arrive in Bombay. They journey by train to Gira Sarabhai’s home in Ahmedabad, where Calder makes eleven sculptures and some gold jewelry.

CF, passport; Calder 1966, 232–33
Guava (1955)
Guava (1955), Gira Sarabhai's home, Ahmedabad, India, c. 1955
Guava (1955), Gira Sarabhai's home, Ahmedabad, India, c. 1955
27 February 1955

After visiting Patna, the Calders arrive in Kathmandu in Nepal.

CF, passport
1 March 1955

The Calders leave Kathmandu for Patna from which they visit Delhi and Jaipur before returning to Bombay.

CF, passport; Calder 1966, 232–40
8 or 9 March 1955

Calder has a private exhibition in Bombay of the works he has made in India. He contracts pneumonia and stays a few extra days to recover.

Calder 1966, 239–40
11–12 March 1955

The Calders leave Bombay, returning to Paris via Cairo and Athens.

Calder 1966, 240; CF, passport
21–22 March 1955

The Calders fly from Paris to New York.

CF, passport
25 March 1955

Jehangir Art Gallery, Bombay, exhibits Calder’s work.

CF, exhibition file
17 May–4 June 1955

Curt Valentin Gallery, New York, exhibits “Alexander Calder.” Calder agrees to hold the show as scheduled, in spite of Valentin’s death the previous year. Nothing sells.

Calder 1966, 240
15 August 1955

Calder arrives in Caracas. He sets up a studio at the metal shop of the Universidad Central de Venezuela and sees Acoustic Ceiling installed in Aula Magna for the first time. Louisa plans to join Calder in Caracas, but a tornado hits Connecticut and causes extensive flooding; she

cancels her trip.

CF, passport; Calder 1966, 242
11–25 September 1955

Villanueva arranges “Exposición Calder” at Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas.

Calder 1966, 242; CF, exhibition file
Asiento del diablo (1955)
Calder and Carlos Raúl Villanueva with Asiento del diablo, Caracas, 1955Photograph by Paolo Gasparini
Calder and Carlos Raúl Villanueva with Asiento del diablo, Caracas, 1955Photograph by Paolo Gasparini
12–13 September 1955

Calder leaves Caracas, arriving in New York en route to Roxbury.

CF, passport
19 October 1955

The Calders arrive in France for the marriage of their daughter, Sandra, to Jean Davidson.

CF, passport; Calder 1966, 246
28 October 1955

Sandra Calder and Jean Davidson are married in Saché. As a wedding present, Miró gives Sandra a drawing.

Calder 1966, 246; CF, object file
Louisa Calder with daughter Sandra Calder Davidson and Jean Davidson on their wedding day (1955)
Louisa Calder with daughter Sandra Calder Davidson and Jean Davidson on their wedding day, Saché, 1955
Louisa Calder with daughter Sandra Calder Davidson and Jean Davidson on their wedding day, Saché, 1955
9 November 1955

The Calders and Davidsons leave Paris and arrive in Germany, where Calder has been commissioned to make a stabile for the American Consulate in Frankfurt. The Calders stay at the Frankfurter Hof. Calder works with the bridge builders Fries et Cie to construct the monumental

stabile Hextopus.

Calder 1966, 247
Hextopus (1955)
Hextopus installed at U.S. Consulate, Frankfurt, 1955
Hextopus installed at U.S. Consulate, Frankfurt, 1955
16 November 1955

The Calders return to France by car.

CF, passport
19–20 November 1955

From Paris, the Calders take a train to Brussels. They fly to New York and return to Roxbury.

CF, passport
December 1955

Pantheon Books publishes A Bestiary, edited by Richard Wilbur, with illustrations by Calder.

CF, project file

1956

6 February–10 March 1956

Perls Galleries, New York, exhibits “Calder.” This is Calder’s first show with his new dealers, Klaus and Dolly Perls.

CF, exhibition file
18 February 1956

The Calders arrive in France.

CF, passport
1 March 1956

The Calders drive to Italy, entering via Ponte S. Luigi.

CF, passport
11–12 May 1956

The Calders leave Paris, arriving in New York.

CF, passport
May 1956

Calder completes his fountain commission Water Ballet for the General Motors Technical Center, Warren, Michigan. There is a dedication on 15 May.

CF, Saarinen to Calder, 27 April; CF, Dinkeloo to Calder, 17 May
Water Ballet (1956)
Water Ballet, General Motors Complex, Michigan, 1956
Water Ballet, General Motors Complex, Michigan, 1956
8 September 1956

The Calders arrive in Paris en route to Saché.

CF, passport
4 October 1956

The Calders’ grandson, Shawn Davidson, is born in Tours, France, to Sandra and Jean Davidson.

Calder 1966, 252
18 October–21 November 1956

The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, exhibits “Jewelry and Drawings by Alexander Calder.” Forty-one pieces of jewelry are exhibited.

CF, exhibition file
13–14 November 1956

The Calders fly from Paris to New York.

CF, passport

1957

3 January 1957

Arnold Newman photographs Calder in his Roxbury studio.

CF, photography file
Calder, Roxbury studio (1957)
Calder, Roxbury studio, 1957. The Cock's Comb hangs overhead.Photograph by Arnold Newman © Arnold Newman
Calder, Roxbury studio, 1957. The Cock's Comb hangs overhead.Photograph by Arnold Newman
18 February–16 March 1957

Frank Perls Gallery, Beverly Hills, exhibits “Alexander Calder.”

CF, exhibition file
7 March 1957

Calder attends the screening of 8×8: A Chess Sonata in 8 Movements at the Museum of Modern Art. Directed by Hans Richter, the film brings together Arp, Paul Bowles, Calder, Cocteau, Duchamp, Kiesler, Jacqueline Matisse, Sert, and Tanguy, among others.

CF, project file
15 March 1957

The Committee of Art Advisors at UNESCO approves Calder’s maquette for a standing mobile. Titled Spirale, the mobile top is made by Calder at Segré’s Iron Works in Connecticut and the stabile bottom is made with the collaboration of Jean Prouvé in France.

CF, Evans to Calder, 15 March
9 April 1957

At Waterbury Iron Works in Connecticut, Calder finishes the mobile commissioned by the Port Authority of New York. He initially titles it .125, the gauge of the aluminum elements, although the work is later dubbed Flight. The mobile is placed in a storeroom near the International Arrivals

Building of Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy International Airport), where it is to be installed upon completion of the terminal.

CF, project file
12 June 1957

The Calders and their daughter Mary arrive in Paris.

CF, passport
8–18 July 1957

While visiting Ritou Nitzschke and André Bac in La Roche Jaune, Brittany, the Calders buy an old customs house, Le Palud, located at the mouth of the Tréguier River. A few times a year, at high tide, the house site becomes an island.

CF, Louisa to Nanette, 8 July; Calder 1966, 252–53
Le Palud (1957)
Le Palud, Calder's house and studio in Brittany, 1957
Le Palud, Calder's house and studio in Brittany, 1957
25–30 July 1957

The family arrives in Spain for a visit with Peter Bellew (writer) and his wife Ellen. They also visit Artigas, a ceramicist, in Gallifa (Barcelona) before returning to France.

CF, passport
27 July–4 November 1957

Uffici Palazzo dell’Arte al Parco, Milan, exhibits the XI Triennale di Milano. Calder makes the stabile Funghi Neri, enlarged from a maquette for the exhibition.

CF, exhibition and project files
22 August 1957

The Calders and daughter Mary leave Paris for London.

CF, passport
2 September 1957

The Calders and Mary leave London and arrive in New York.

CF, passport
20 September 1957

Calder and Louisa see .125 installed in the International Arrivals Terminal of John F. Kennedy Airport for the first time.

CF, project file
Calder reviewing the installation of .125 (1957)
Calder reviewing the installation of .125, Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy International Airport), New York, 1957
Calder reviewing the installation of .125, Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy International Airport), New York, 1957

1958

January 1958

Calder completes the motorized, monumental sculpture The Whirling Ear, a commission made for the pool in front of the United States Pavilion at the Brussels Universal and International Exhibition. The sculpture was made by Calder at Gowans-Knight in Watertown,

Connecticut.

CF, project file; Calder 1966, 258, 260
The Whirling Ear (1958)
The Whirling Ear, Brussels Universal and International Exhibition, 1958
The Whirling Ear, Brussels Universal and International Exhibition, 1958
10 February–8 March 1958

Perls Galleries, New York, exhibits “Calder, Recent Works.”

CF, exhibition file
Spring 1958

Calder builds a second studio in Roxbury.

Lipman 1976, 335
5–29 June 1958

The Glory Folk, a ballet choreographed by John Butler with sets by Calder, is performed during the “Festival of Two Worlds,” Spoleto, Italy. Calder flies to Spoleto to oversee the construction of his sets.

CF, project file
11 June 1958

The Calders arrive in Paris.

CF, passport
22–23 August 1958

Calder installs Spirale, a monumental standing mobile, at UNESCO in Paris and attends the dedication ceremony on the following day.

Calder 1966, 258–59
Spirale (1958)
Spirale, Palais de l'UNESCO, Paris, 1958Photograph by Budd
Spirale, Palais de l'UNESCO, Paris, 1958Photograph by Budd
17 September 1958

The Calders arrive in New York.

CF, passport
5 December 1958–8 February 1959

Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, presents the 1958 Pittsburgh Bicentennial International Exhibition of Contemporary Painting and Sculpture. Calder wins first prize in the sculpture category for Pittsburgh, a monumental mobile, which is purchased by G. David Thompson

and donated to Allegheny County. It is installed at the Greater Pittsburgh International Airport.

CF, exhibition file

1959

4 February 1959

Calder goes to Paris to arrange a solo exhibition at Galerie Maeght.

FJM, Calder to Prats, 24 March
6 March–13 April 1959

Galerie Maeght, Paris, exhibits “Calder: Stabiles.” The catalogue texts are “Stabiles” by Georges Salles and “Le Luron aux protège-genoux” by Jean Davidson, with illustrations by Calder.

CF, exhibition file
Calder: Stabiles (1959)
Installation photograph, Calder: Stabiles, Galerie Maeght, Paris, 1959
Installation photograph, Calder: Stabiles, Galerie Maeght, Paris, 1959
10 March 1959

Calder leaves Paris.

FJM, Calder to Prats, 24 March
15 May–22 June 1959

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, exhibits “Alexander Calder, Stabilen, Mobilen.” The catalogue texts are “Stabiles” by Georges Salles and “Calder und die mobiles” by Willem Sandberg. The exhibition travels to Hamburg, Krefeld, Mannheim, Wuppertal, and Zurich.

CF, exhibition file
24 May 1959

Calder and Louisa host dinner at their home in Roxbury in honor of the AICA (International Association of Art Critics) XIth General Assembly.

CF, business file
2 June 1959

The Calders arrive in the Netherlands.

CF, passport
3 June 1959

The Calders arrive in Le Bourget, France.

CF, passport
24 July–4 September 1959

“American Painting and Sculpture 1930–1959: The Moscow Exhibition” is included as part of the American National Exhibition in Sokolniki Park, Moscow. Calder contributes Black Mobile and 7 Legged Beast.

CF, exhibition file
31 August 1959

The Calders receive a visa from the Brazilian Consulate in Paris.

CF, passport
September 1959

The Calders depart Paris and arrive in Rio de Janeiro, where they spend a month at the Gloria Hotel. During their stay, they visit Brazil’s new capital, Brasília.

CF, passport; Calder 1966, 253
1 October 1959

The Calders leave Brazil.

CF, passport

1960

24 February 1960

Calder is elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters, New York, and is inducted on 25 May.

CF, awards file
25 February 1960

The Calders return to Brazil for the Carnaval.

CF, passport
7 March 1960

The Calders leave Brazil, returning to the United States.

CF, passport
12 March 1960

Calder’s mother, Nanette Lederer Calder, dies.

Calder 1966, 255
Calder with his mother (c. 1950)
Calder with Nanette Lederer Calder, Roxbury, c. 1950
Calder with Nanette Lederer Calder, Roxbury, c. 1950
15 March–9 April 1960

Perls Galleries, New York, exhibits “Alexander Calder ‘1960.’”

CF, exhibition file
23 June 1960

Maeght Éditeur publishes Poètes Pientres Sculpteurs that includes an original lithograph by Calder and “Un Souffle Ombilical,” a poem by Jean Davidson.

CF, object file

1961

26 January 1961

The Calders’ granddaughter, Andréa Davidson, is born in Tours, France, to Sandra and Jean Davidson.

CF, birth certificate
Calder and granddaughter Andréa Davidson, François Premier (1963)
Calder and granddaughter Andréa Davidson, François Premier, Saché, c. 1963Photograph by Pedro Guerrero © Pedro Guerrero
Calder and granddaughter Andréa Davidson, François Premier, Saché, c. 1963Photograph by Pedro Guerrero
21 February–1 April 1961

Perls Galleries, New York, exhibits “Alexander Calder / Joan Miró.” The catalogue includes texts written by each artist about the other.

CF, exhibition file
10 March 1961

The Calders return to France.

CF, passport
26 March 1961

Calder performs Cirque Calder in Saché.

CF, Calder to Piper, 30 March
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