Alexander Calder
Constellation, 1943

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Artist name
Alexander Calder
Date created
metal, paint and wood
48 1/2 in. × 43 1/2 in. × 9 3/4 in. (123.19 cm × 110.49 cm × 24.77 cm)
The Doris and Donald Fisher Collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
© Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Permanent URL
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

Audio Stories

The artist on his celestial series

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For years, Calder had collected antique astronomical devices — globes, rings and mechanical models of the solar system. This early work in his Constellations series resembles something like a scientific model of a molecule, another kind of universe in miniature, after all. Calder called this a new form of art” — one where he could organize forms in open abstract constructions. 


He later wrote about these pieces: 

The idea of detached bodies floating in space, of different sizes and densities, perhaps of different colors and temperatures … I would have them deployed, some nearer together and some at immense distances. … not supported — the use of a very long thread, or a long arm in cantilever as a means of support seems to best approximate this freedom from the earth. 



The idea of exploring the mysterious, uncharted heavens fascinated many surrealist artists. Around this same time, Calders friends Joan Miro and Jean Arp created series of works they also called Constellations — each proposing just how outer space might look. 


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