The Acrobats

  • Alexander Calder, The Acrobats, 1944, plaster, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Alexander Calder, 1971.358A-B

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.

Luce Object 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
Title
The Acrobats
Artist
Date
1944
On View
Dimensions
sight 11 3/4 x 10 3/8 x 7 5/8 in. (30.0 x 26.2 x 19.3 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Alexander Calder

Mediums
Mediums Description
plaster
Classifications
Keywords
  • Performing arts – circus – acrobat
  • Figure group – male – nude
Object Number
1971.358A-B
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

More from artist

More Artworks from the Collection