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The Antlers

1944 Alexander Calder Born: Lawnton, Pennsylvania 1898 Died: New York, New York 1976 plaster 17 3/8 x 32 x 16 1/4 in. (44.1 x 81.3 x 41.2 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Alexander Calder 1971.359 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 49B

Luce Center Label

Alexander Calder found inspiration in the natural world to create the abstracted forms he used in his famous mobiles and sculptures. He frequently sketched animals at the Bronx and Central Park zoos while studying art in New York City, then made a living in Paris selling movable wooden and wire toy animals. In 1944, Calder fabricated a group of small, plaster sculptures based on animals and plants and kept them in his personal collection. He later gifted some of these sculptures, including The Fawn and The Flower, to the Smithsonian American Art Museum a few years before he died in 1976. In The Antlers, Calder explored the whimsical curves of an animal’s antlers in isolation, apart from a body. Calder’s playful sense of structural equilibrium is showcased in this piece, as the antlers balance on the tip of the tripod base.