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Red Lily Pads (Nénuphars rouges)

Alexander Calder

Red Lily Pads (Nénuphars rouges)

Alexander Calder
  • Date: 1956
  • Style: Kinetic Art
  • Period: LARGE-SCALE DEVELOPMENTS AND INTERCONTINENTAL COMMISSIONS: 1953–1962
  • Theme: Hanging Mobile
  • Genre: sculpture, mobile

In the late 1930s, Calder began to favor forms that suggested plants and animals over galactic subjects. Like the Surrealist artists he often exhibited alongside, Calder held an affinity for biomorphic forms and accidental relationships. Calder's mobiles—with individual elements that combine and recombine at random—create a poetry of the unexpected similar to that of Man Ray's “encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissecting table” or Arp's chance collages, as well as mimic the unpredictable and passing movements of nature. Calder continued to reference the natural world in his nonfigurative work throughout his life, as in the monumental mobile Red Lily Pads. Its ovoid disks float parallel to the earth in fleeting arrangements, like leaves skimming the surface of water.

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