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Maquette for Flamingo

1972 Alexander Calder Born: Lawnton, Pennsylvania 1898 Died: New York, New York 1976 riveted and painted aluminum 15 5/8 x 18 1/8 x 10 in. (39.8 x 46.0 x 25.4 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Transfer from the General Services Administration 1980.49.3 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 51A

Luce Center Quote

"How great it would be to have a monumental work of sculpture to adorn the Federal Center plaza . . . Clearly the artist should be an American, and someone of comparable stature to Picasso and Chagall . . . There is only one man who meets these two requirements. Alexander Calder." Architect Carter H. Manny Jr., in a letter to the GSA, January 29, 1973

Luce Center Label

Flamingo was commissioned by the General Services Administration's Art-in-Architecture Program. The subject of this stabile, a flamingo, follows Alexander Calder's lifelong affection for whimsical and exotic creatures. Evoking both an actual bird and a silly yard ornament, Flamingo shows the humor and playfulness common in much of Calder's work. Chicago celebrated the dedication of Flamingo with "Alexander Calder Day in Chicago," a festival that included an old-fashioned parade of marching bands, clowns, unicyclists, and animals. Calder, who sat on top of the famous Schlitz bandwagon, received cheers from the thousands lining the sidewalks. However, not all of Chicago was happy that the government had "wasted" their tax money on "that piece of junk." Some thought it looked like a droopy tulip or a steel mosquito. Flamingo was installed at the plaza of the John C. Kluczynski Federal Building, Chicago, in 1974 and measures 53 by 24 by 60 feet.



Animal - bird - flamingo

Study - sculpture model

sculpture - maquette

metal - aluminum