Fine Prints & Photography Online Auction

October 06, 2016

LOT 64

Lot 64

Alexander Calder (1898-1976)

Alexander Calder (1898-1976)
Lot 64 Details
Alexander Calder (1898-1976), American


Colour lithograph on BFK Rives watermarked paper; signed and numbered 74/90 in pencil to margin, inscribed “Calder”, titled “Chevrons Noir sur Rouge et Jaune” and erroneously dated 1960 in pencil verso and to the Art Gallery of Ontario label verso. Published by Maeght, Paris, FR.
26" x 38" — 66 x 96.5 cm.

Estimate $1,500-$2,500

Realised: $2,280
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images
Alexander Calder (1898-1976)
  • Alexander Calder (1898-1976)
  • Alexander Calder (1898-1976)
  • Alexander Calder (1898-1976)
  • Alexander Calder (1898-1976)

Mazelow Gallery, Toronto;
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto Art Rental Service while with the Mazelow Gallery, Toronto;
Acquired from the above by the present Private Collection, Toronto in 1976


Alexander Calder, What Abstract Art Means to Me from Museum of Modern Art Bulletin 18, no. 3, Spring 1951, p. 8–9


In 1930, Calder visited the studio of Piet Mondrian where Calder was taken by the rectangles of colour tacked to Mondrian’s studio wall. Calder commented of meeting Mondrian, “I think at that time and practically ever since, the underlying sense of form in my work has been the system of the Universe, or part there of.” (1951, p. 8)
This visit had a profound effect on the American artist; Calder sought to replicate the underlying structure of the universe using forms and colours he viewed as essential. Calder’s development of his own brand of abstraction saw the American artist generally using primary and secondary colours in conjunction with black and white for his works, as we see in this print as well as Lot 3. In these works, detached bodies of primary and secondary colours and shapes float freely or overlap to impinge upon one another to produce a unique sensation of movement on a white ground. 

In an interview with Katherine Kuh, Calder commented, “The simplest forms in the universe are the sphere and the circle. I represent them by disks and then I vary them. My whole theory about art is the disparity that exists between form, masses movements.  Even my triangles are spheres” (1962, p. 38)

Calder’s lithographs convey reductive geometry that free float in a balanced and immutable stasis. They defy the traditional easel paintings sense of up or down and seem to exist somewhere between the painting and the organic. The mechanical shading of the lithograph makes the shapes impregnable and helps to create a complex environment that is inhabited by primitive forms of basic colours that explores the movement of forms and the relationship of ‘figure’ to ‘ground.’


For condition information please contact the specialist.

LOT 64

About Condition Ratings

  • 5 Stars: Excellent - No discernable damage, flaws or imperfections
  • 4 Stars: Very Good - Minor flaws or imperfections visible only under close inspection using specialised instruments or black light
  • 3 Stars: Good - Minor flaws visible upon inspection under standard lighting
  • 2 Stars: Fair - Exhibits flaws or damage that may draw the eye under standard lighting
  • 1 Star: Poor - Flaws or damage immediately apparent under standard lighting (examples: missing components, rips, broken glass, damaged surfaces, etc.)

Note: Condition ratings and condition details are the subjective opinions of our specialists and should be used as a guide only. Waddington’s uses due care when preparing condition details, however, our staff are not professional restorers or conservators. Condition details and reports are not warranties and each lot is sold “as is” in accordance with the buyer’s terms and conditions of sale. In all cases the prospective purchaser is responsible for inspecting the property themselves prior to placing a bid.