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Paper costumes for A Nightmare Side Show, one of thirteen group processions performed during Paper Ball: Le Cirque des Chiffonniers, First Hartford Festival, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut, 15 February 1936 Standing, left to right: André Masson, Kay Sage, and Calder; sitting, left to right: André Breton, Susanna Perkins Hare, Louisa Calder, Rose Masson, Diego Masson, Charlie Prescott, Mary Calder, and Teeny Matisse, Roxbury, 1941 Alexander Calder was born in 1898, the second child of artist parents—his father was a sculptor and his mother a painter.Because his father, Alexander Stirling Calder, received public commissions, the family traversed the country throughout Calder's childhood.Calder was encouraged to create, and from the age of eight he always had his own workshop wherever the family lived.For Christmas in 1909, Calder presented his parents with two of his first sculptures, a tiny dog and duck cut from a brass sheet and bent into formation.In the fall of 1931, a significant turning point in Calder's artistic career occurred when he created his first truly kinetic sculpture and gave form to an entirely new type of art. At that time, on Euclid Avenue in Pasadena, I got my first tools and was given the cellar with its window as a workshop. My workshop became some sort of a center of attention; everybody came in.The first of these objects moved by systems of cranks and motors, and were dubbed "mobiles" by Marcel Duchamp—in French mobile refers to both "motion" and "motive." Calder soon abandoned the mechanical aspects of these works when he realized he could fashion mobiles that would undulate on their own with the air's currents. Portfolio of lithographs by Calder, Chillida, Guinovart, Miró, Ràfols-Casamada, Tàpies, Vedova, Viladecans. Mother and father were all for my efforts to build things myself—they approved of the homemade . (Calder 1966, 21) 1 January: Calder attends Pasadena's Tournament of Roses, where he experiences the four-horse chariot races.
Soon after, he was invited to join Abstraction-Création, an influential group of artists (including Jean Arp, Mondrian, and Jean Hélion) with whom he had become friendly. Calder's parents move to a ranch in Oracle, Arizona, leaving Calder and his sister Peggy in the care of Dr. Calder befriends Riley, an elderly man recuperating at the ranch who shows him "how to make a wigwam out of burlap bags pinned together with nails." (Calder 1966, 16) Fall: The Calders move to Pasadena, California.The circus became a lifelong interest of Calder's, and after moving to Paris in 1926, he created his , a complex and unique body of art.The assemblage included diminutive performers, animals, and props he had observed at the Ringling Bros. Fashioned from wire, leather, cloth, and other found materials, was designed to be manipulated manually by Calder.Calder's renderings of his circus often lasted about two hours and were quite elaborate.Indeed, the predated performance art by forty years.