1898 - 1976
Signed, dated and inscribed lower right
Gouache and ink on paper
43 1/8 x 29 1/2 in, 109.5 x 75 cm
This gouache evokes the spontaneous energy and dynamism of Alexander Calder’s famous kinetic sculptures, which had established the American artist as one of the leading figures in 20th century art....
This gouache evokes the spontaneous energy and dynamism of Alexander Calder’s famous kinetic sculptures, which had established the American artist as one of the leading figures in 20th century art. Calder found that the vitality of gouache could reflect the rhythms and movement of his playful mobiles, translating angular sculptures into exuberant two-dimensional geometric forms.
Drawn to the immediacy and fluidity of gouache, Calder used the material to develop earlier illustrations and paintings, and in parallel to his sculptural practice. He explained, “I very much like making gouaches. It goes fast and one can surprise oneself”.
Created in the same year as Calder’s monumental ‘Trois disques (Man)’ commission for the Montreal Exposition, this lyrical gouache is filled with cosmic discs and suspended spirals that respond to the artist’s fascination with celestial imagery. Reducing his forms and colour palette to their most elementary state of vivid primaries, Calder creates a lively and enigmatic vision of the universe. “The basis of everything for me is the universe”, Calder explained in 1962. “The simplest forms in the universe are the sphere and the circle.” The unrelenting tide of energy that passes across the paper is also evocative of the essential forces in nature.
‘Untitled’ was Calder’s gift to the French realist painter Paul Rebeyrolle and his wife, Papou, who married in 1967. Calder uses mirror writing across the bottom right corner of the work to write Paul’s name, a technique that Leonardo da Vinci often employed in his personal notes, and then adds Papou’s after so that one name is reflected in the other in a playful romantic artistic gesture.
Paul Rebeyrolle (gift from the artist)
Estate of Paul Rebeyrolle, France
Gallery Guy Pieters, Denmark (purchased from the above)
Private Collection, Belgium (purchased from the above)
This work is registered in the Calder Archives under #A27010