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Calder, Alexander (American, 1898-1976)
La Vague Rouge


Calder, Alexander (American, 1898-1976)

La Vague Rouge


Edition: 5/6

Woven lower right: Calder / Pinton Frères insignia
Pinton Frères label on verso with title, edition and signed by the artist’s daughter Sandra Calder Davidson

61in h x 40.5in w

• Acquired from Jane Kahan Gallery, New York, NY October 2013

• The New York Times, October 9, 1971 “Art Tapestries and a Zoo by Calder”


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    Calder, Alexander (American, 1898-1976)

    Although best known for his mobiles and monumental public sculptures, Alexander Calder was a prolific artist in many other media, including tapestry design. In the early 1960s, the French Aubusson textile workshops Picaud and later Pinton Frères collaborated with Calder to create fine art tapestries. The artist provided the workshops with “cartoons” or painted templates in ink and gouache. These were not paintings merely to be reproduced in textile, but rather well conceived designs created specifically for execution in the woven form. Working in collaboration with the workshop, Calder oversaw the production of his tapestries, and exacted specifications for their color and texture. As Calder once explained, “If you like what you give them, you have to like what you get back.”

    Calder’s tapestries quickly gained popularity and were included in retrospectives at the Guggenheim in 1964 and Paris’s Musée National d’Art Moderne in 1965. His tapestries were the subject of an exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in 1971 titled Alexander Calder: Tapestries. That same year, the show was reviewed by The New York Times where it was said that “the colors are pure Calder—rich blacks, brilliant reds, sunny yellows and snowy whites. The slight increase in rigidity inherent in tapestry technique is welcome in patterns increased to several times the size of the freely executed models. Everything works together with complete success.” Within a short period of time, Calder created over fifty tapestry designs from 1960 until his death in 1976.