Calder Foundation

Well Sweep

Date 1936
Sheet metal and paint
22' high; 15' diam.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Bequest of James Thrall Soby, 1979
Historical Photos  2
Works / Monumental Sculpture 217
Works / Standing Mobile 268
Related Timeline
1930–1936 Shift to Abstraction

Following a visit in October of 1930 to Piet Mondrian’s studio, where he was impressed by the environmental installation, Calder made his first wholly abstract compositions and invented the kinetic sculpture now known as the mobile. Coined for these works by Marcel Duchamp in 1931, the word “mobile” refers to both “motion” and “motive” in French. He also created stationary abstract works that Jean Arp dubbed “stabiles.”