Calder Foundation

Goldfish Bowl

Date 1929
Media
Wire
Dimensions
16" × 15" × 6"
Collection
Calder Foundation, New York
Historical Photos  1
Related exhibitions  11
The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1943)

The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Alexander Calder: Sculptures and Constructions. 29 September 1943–16 January 1944.

Solo Exhibition
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1964)

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Alexander Calder: A Retrospective Exhibition. 6 November 1964–31 January 1965.

Solo Exhibition
Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris (1965)

Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris. Calder. 8 July–15 October 1965. Originated from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

Solo Exhibition
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1976)

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Calder’s Universe. 14 October 1976–6 February 1977.

Solo Exhibition
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (1998)

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Alexander Calder: 1898–1976. 29 March–12 July 1998.

Solo Exhibition
Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2009)

Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Alexander Calder: les années parisiennes 1926–1933. 18 March–20 July 2009. Originated from the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Solo Exhibition
Tate Modern, London (2015)

Tate Modern, London. Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture. 11 November 2015–3 April 2016.

Solo Exhibition
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2017)

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Calder: Hypermobility. 9 June–23 October 2017.

Solo Exhibition
Fundación Proa, Buenos Aires (2018)

Fundación Proa, Buenos Aires. Alexander Calder: Theater of Encounters. 8 September 2018–15 January 2019.

Solo Exhibition
Pace Gallery, New York (2019)

Pace Gallery, New York. Calder: Small Sphere and Heavy Sphere. 14 September–26 October 2019.

Solo Exhibition
Di Donna Galleries, New York (2024)

Di Donna Galleries, New York. Enchanted Reverie: Klee and Calder. 19 April–8 June 2024.

Solo Exhibition
Selected films  1
Alexander Calder: Sculpture and Constructions
Alexander Calder: Sculpture and Constructions 1944Cinematography by Herbert Matter
Chronology  1
Before 25 December 1929

Calder creates his first formal mechanized sculpture, Goldfish Bowl, and presents it to his mother as a Christmas gift. For his father, he makes a brass wire fish. In a letter to Peggy, Nanette writes, He made me a fish tank of brass wire, with two fish that wiggle as you turn a crank made

also of wire. Waves are indicated along the top. For your Dad a large fish that is now hanging from the electric light. Peggy, it is remarkable. One wire beginning at his tail, running along the backbone to the head where the eyes and mouth are faultlessly placed. Then the wire loops around the back bone as it travels back to form the other half of the tail. This is hard to describe, but it is really wonderful as is the fish bowl in which the fishes bend as tho [sic] swimming.

Works / Wire Sculpture 76
Related Timeline
1926–1930 Wire Sculpture and the Circus

Soon after moving to Paris in 1926, Calder created his Cirque Calder. Made of wire and a spectrum of found materials, the Cirque was a work of performance art that gained Calder an introduction to the Parisian avant-garde. He continued to explore his invention of wire sculpture, whereby he “drew” with wire in three dimensions the portraits of friends, animals, circus themes, and personalities of the day.