Calder Foundation

Mercury Fountain

Date 1937
Media
Sheet metal, rod, wire, pitch, paint, and mercury, with pumping mechanism and basin
Dimensions
102" high
Collection
Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona
Map of installed works
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Historical Photos  3
Featured Text  1
Stevens Indicator (1938)

Calder, Alexander. “Mercury Fountain.” Stevens Indicator, vol. 55, no. 3 (May 1938).

Magazine
Related works  1
Chronology  3
May 1937

Calder and Miró visit the Spanish pavilion under construction at the 1937 World’s Fair site in Paris. Calder meets the pavilion’s architects, Josép Lluís Sert and Luis Lacasa. Sert eventually commissions Calder to make Mercury Fountain for the Spanish pavilion. Mined in Almadén in

Spain, the mercury symbolizes Republican resistance to fascism.

12 July 1937

The Spanish pavilion, featuring Picasso’s Guernica, Miró’s Le Faucheur, and Calder’s Mercury Fountain, opens at the Paris World’s Fair.

1973

Calder gives the Mercury Fountain to the Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona. The museum was designed by Sert. The fountain is installed in June 1975.

Works / Unusual Project 25
Related Timeline
1937–1945 Public Commissions and the War

In 1937, Calder completed Devil Fish, his first stabile enlarged from a model. He received two important commissions: Mercury Fountain (1937) and Lobster Trap and Fish Tail (1939). His first retrospective was held in 1938 at the George Walter Vincent Smith Gallery in Springfield, Massachusetts, followed by another in 1943 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.