Alexander Calder was born in Pennsylvania on July 22, 1898. Sandy, as his family and friends called him, was born into a family of artists and began to create sculptures himself at a young age. He first pursued a career as an engineer, but eventually went back to art school. Calder is best known for his pioneering mobiles, which are often brightly colored. He also created stabiles, paintings, and many kinetic sculptures as well. Alexander Calder passed away on November 11, 1976, leaving behind a large body of work that is still exciting and interesting viewers today.
If you’ve read any of my other artist posts, you know I’m a big fan of Mike Venezia’s Getting to Know… series. These biographies have a good amount of information and the funny illustrations always draw kids in.
This Meet the Artist! book is full of all kinds of pull tabs and pop-ups–definitely the kind of book Calder himself would have enjoyed!
Sandy’s Circus tells about the circus Calder made from wire, cloth, and all kinds of found objects. It is now housed at the Whitney Museum of American Art, which has a lot of good information about the circus on their website.
We tried working with wire like Alexander Calder and found it was much more difficult than it looks! You can find instructions for a wire art project at Elementary Art Lesson Plans for All.
When we were studying Calder, a local museum had en exhibit of his paintings we were able to go see. (If you’re located near Northwest Arkansas, like we are, Crystal Bridges also has several Calder mobiles in their collection.)
During the time we were learning about Calder, we also read The Calder Game, which is an interesting chapter book that revolves around a stabile created by Calder.
Alexander Calder’s work is so interesting and varied and if you’re looking for a good artist to begin learning about with your children, you can’t go wrong with Calder!