Maquette for Flamingo

  • Alexander Calder, Maquette for Flamingo, 1972, riveted and painted aluminum, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the General Services Administration, 1980.49.3

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.

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 291973
Maquette for Flamingo
15 5818 1810 in. (39.846.025.4 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Transfer from the General Services Administration

Mediums Description
riveted and painted aluminum
  • Study – sculpture model
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

More from artist

More Artworks from the Collection

Recently Viewed