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Alexander Calder

Inspired by Mondrian, Calder commenced a series of abstract paintings, but quickly returned to abstract sculpture. Calder said, "The underlying form in my work, is the system of the universe. A rather large model to work with." Within a year of the visit to Mondrian, Calder's concept of abstract forms in motion was fully realized, with the creation of the mobile, but even his initial constructions manifest a radical change in his work.

The witty wire caricatures of animals and acrobats were abandoned for spheres, arcs, and constellations accompanied by analytical descriptions that confirmed the scientific orientation of his vision. Calder combined his interest in cosmic imagery with the technical mastery of physical principles that resulted from his training as a mechanical engineer.

At the time, he wrote: "Why not plastic forms in motion? Not a simple transitory or rotary motion but several motions of different types, speeds, and amplitudes composing to make a resultant whole, just as one can compose colors, or forms, so one can compose motions." He became intrigued by serendipity and introduced chance into his sculptures through random motion.

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