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The Acrobats

1944 Alexander Calder Born: Lawnton, Pennsylvania 1898 Died: New York, New York 1976 plaster sight 11 3/4 x 10 3/8 x 7 5/8 in. (30.0 x 26.2 x 19.3 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Alexander Calder 1971.358A-B Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 49B

Luce Center Quote

"It wasn't the daringness of the performers, nor the tricks or gimmicks; it was the fantastic balance in motion that the performers exhibited.' Alexander Calder, quoted posthumously in National Gallery of Art brochure, 1998

Luce Center Label

Alexander Calder became fascinated with the circus when a job with The Police Gazette in New York required him to draw cartoons of local athletic events. He went on to study the movements of acrobats, trapeze artists, knife throwers, belly dancers and a vast array of animals. He began his legendary "Circus" piece in Paris, and expanded it over the years until it filled five suitcases and a two-hour show. The Acrobats was inspired by these early studies and represents a brief period when Calder worked in plaster, creating mobile objects that would be cast in bronze.


Figure group - male - nude

Performing arts - circus - acrobat