Calder Foundation

A Merry Can Ballet

Date 1933
Wood, sheet metal, wire, string, tin cans, cloth, and paint
Historical Photos  4
Chronology  1
Spring 1933

Marc Vaux photographs A Merry Can Ballet in Calder’s Paris studio at 14 rue de la Colonie.

Works / Unusual Project 25
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.”