Alexander Calder

Sun, Snake and Fish, 1970

lithograph in colours on wove paper; épreuve d'artiste

26.5 × 38.5 in

 38.5 x


 97.8 x



plus shipping & taxes


About the work

Sun, Snake, and Fish by American modern master Alexander Calder, features primary colours, geometric lines, and concentric circles to depict flattened biomorphic shapes. Although Calder is best known for his kinetic sculptures, the artist was also an avid printmaker later in his career. The imagery in Calder’s lithographs is often reminiscent of his sculptural work. Evocative of his mobiles, this print consists of a central heavenly body (the sun) around which orbit lines, symbols, and animal forms. Calder achieves balance through a careful juxtaposition of bold colours and strong lines.

Medium Prints
Signature Signed
Frame Unframed
Condition good; mild crease in paper on upper right edge
Seller Private
Location Vancouver, Canada
Provenance Private Collection, Vancouver.

Alexander Calder


Alexander Calder is considered one of the pioneers of Kinetic art, a movement referencing art created between approximately 1920 and 1970 that utilizes both real and apparent motion. Calder changed the course of modern art with his three-dimensional kinetic sculptures which Marcel Duchamp named “mobiles.” Resonating with the European movements of Futurism, Constructivism, and early non-objective painting, Calder used boldly colored abstract shapes arranged in lyrical balance with one another. His vocabulary of three-dimensional abstraction was informed by his acute observation that everything is always in flux. Though Calder is best known for his mobiles, his diverse practice also encompassed standing sculpture, painting, set and costume design, large-scale public installation, and jewelry-making.

Calder was born in 1898 in Lawnton, Pennsylvania to artist parents. . After graduating in 1922 with a degree in mechanical engineering, Calder went on to study painting at the Art Students League of New York. In 1926, he moved to Paris where he began undertaking his first formal wire sculptures, which were effectively prototypes for his later hanging works.

He attended art schools in both New York and Paris, as well as supporting himself working on transatlantic ships as a sailor, enabling what turned into long-distance commuting between Europe and America. In the 1920s and early 1930s – before the post-War rush of Americans to Paris, often on the GI Bill – he was one of the few transatlantic visual artists to be fully integrated with their European peers, primarily in Paris. Calder visited Mondrian in his studio and was deeply moved by the fact that in a sense the whole studio was an installation, a painting. As he later wrote: “The mobiles started when I went to see Mondrian. I was impressed by several coloured rectangles he had on the wall.”

Calder was an international phenomenon during his lifetime. He won the grand prize for sculpture at the 1952 Venice Biennale, where he represented the United States. He earned the French Legion of Honor and the American Presidential Medal of Freedom, among other honors. Calder has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, Storm King Art Center, the Rijksmuseum, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, and the Museo Reina Sofía, among others.

Today, Calder’s work may be found in the permanent collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, which has the largest Calder collection. His work regularly sells for eight figures on the secondary market.


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