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ALEXANDER CALDER (1898-1976)

 
ALEXANDER CALDER - Jerusalem Stabile (Intermediate Maquette) - painted steel - 45 x 112 3/4 x 45 in. ALEXANDER CALDER - Jerusalem Stabile (Intermediate Maquette) - painted steel - 45 x 112 3/4 x 45 in. ALEXANDER CALDER - Jerusalem Stabile (Intermediate Maquette) - painted steel - 45 x 112 3/4 x 45 in. ALEXANDER CALDER - Jerusalem Stabile (Intermediate Maquette) - painted steel - 45 x 112 3/4 x 45 in. ALEXANDER CALDER - Jerusalem Stabile (Intermediate Maquette) - painted steel - 45 x 112 3/4 x 45 in. ALEXANDER CALDER - Jerusalem Stabile (Intermediate Maquette) - painted steel - 45 x 112 3/4 x 45 in. ALEXANDER CALDER - Jerusalem Stabile (Intermediate Maquette) - painted steel - 45 x 112 3/4 x 45 in. ALEXANDER CALDER - Jerusalem Stabile (Intermediate Maquette) - painted steel - 45 x 112 3/4 x 45 in. ALEXANDER CALDER - Jerusalem Stabile (Intermediate Maquette) - painted steel - 45 x 112 3/4 x 45 in. ALEXANDER CALDER - Jerusalem Stabile (Intermediate Maquette) - painted steel - 45 x 112 3/4 x 45 in.
Jerusalem Stabile (Intermediate Maquette)197645 x 112 3/4 x 45 in.(109.22 x 271.78 x 114.3 cm) painted steel
Provenance
Commissioned from the artist
Philip and Muriel Berman, Allentown, Pennsylvania, 1976
Pace Wildenstein Collection, 1995
Bentley Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona, 2002
Private Collection, Beverly Hills, California
Exhibition
Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, Las Vegas. Alexander Calder: The Art of Invention. 25 January–24 July 2002. ill. pg. 37, in color. Pg. 56 in text.
Literature
Yona Fischer, Calder: The Jerusalem Stabile
Château de Tours, France. Alexandre Calder en Touraine. Exhibition catalogue. 2008. pg. 78
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“If you can imagine a thing, conjure it up in space then you can make it… The universe is real but you can’t see it. You have to imagine it. Then you can be realistic about reproducing it.” – Alexander Calder

History

Alexander Calder’s work famously relied upon anthropomorphic or zoomorphic associations, but as recently as 1973, he had begun to fashion what amounted to three-dimensional landscape-inspired metal paintings that served as props for staging a world populated by “Critters,” strange metal personages of the sort that had populated his paintings and gouaches for decades. As for the staging, these curvaceous metal sheets echoed the lofty peaks and deep-cut valleys of ancient Chinese paintings and were referred to as “Crags.” Not surprisingly perhaps, Calder’s last two great public sculptures were inspired by his response to the rhythmic flow of the landscape: the monumental Mountains and Clouds installed posthumously in 1984 in the East Building Central Court of the National Gallery in Washington, D. C., and Homage to Jerusalem.

Calder created seven maquette versions for Homage to Jerusalem, the last important commission he would sign before he died in November 1976. The original, a small-scale, twelve-inch-long sheet metal and wire iteration was undoubtedly fashioned by Calder himself. A series of intermediary maquettes (of which this is one) followed. His fragile health was a factor when he arrived in Jerusalem to inspect prospective sights for the installation of the Jerusalem commission. But Martin Weyl, the director of the Israel Museum recalled that when Calder arrived at Holland Square, an underdeveloped intersection on the southeastern slope of Mount Herzl and nodded his approval, he began “moving his hands and arms in rhythmic patterns that echoed the rhythms of the Judean Hills in the distance” that belied his infirm state. (Jed Perl, Calder: The Conquest of Space, The Later Years: 1940-1976, pg. 563) Calder no longer had the strength of an ox, but a new project such as this brought a welcome rush of adrenaline. He returned to his French studio at Sache to create maquettes with the help of Biémont Iron Works, progressive steps in realizing the forty-foot high, sixty-ton colossal edifice that became a striking red presence against the fierce blue sky and which framed through its high arches the famous hill and mountain panorama that had inspired its creation.

More
  • calder-history1
    Alexander Calder, “Homage to Jerusalem” (1977) in Holland Square, near Mount Herzl in Jerusalem
  • calder-history2
    “Jerusalem Stabile (Intermediate Maquette)” at the Biémont fabrication plant. Image from The Jerusalem Stabile, ed. Yona Fischer, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1980
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    Calder’s “Flamingo” (1974) is a comparable monumental public installation in the Federal Plaza in Chicago
“My whole theory about art is the disparity that exists between form, masses and movement.” – Alexander Calder

MARKET INSIGHTS

  • Calder_AMR Graph
  • Calder’s market growth is remarkable even among his blue-chip peers
  • Prices for Calder’s best works have been strong for decades; demand for his art has globalized and supply is finite
  • No large Calder sculptures in his iconic red have come to auction in the last decade. 
  • This maquette, impressive in size, offers a more accessible price level than his even larger institutional-scale sculptures
  • As a maquette for Calder’s last project, Jerusalem Stabile is an important historical artifact

Comparable Sculptures Sold at Auction

"Sans Titre" (1963), painted steel, 135.8 x 131.5 x 78 in. Sold at Artcurial: 8 July 2020 for $5,604,303 USD
“Sans Titre” (1963), painted steel, 135.8 x 131.5 x 78 in. Sold at Artcurial: 8 July 2020 for $5,604,303 USD
  • Similar shape, but black
  • $5.6M last July, indicating high demand
  • Would have likely gone higher at a major auction house
"The Clove" (1970), painted sheet metal, 105.5 x 85 x 102.7 in. Sold at Christie’s New York: 11 May 2011 for $3,890,500 USD
“The Clove” (1970), painted sheet metal, 105.5 x 85 x 102.7 in. Sold at Christie’s New York: 11 May 2011 for $3,890,500 USD
  • The most recent large red Calder to come to auction
  • Same red but not his best-known arches
  • Sold for almost $4M ten years ago; his market has since doubled
"Untitled" (1963-1963), metal, 94.5 x 67 x 124 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: 14 November 2000 for $1,160,750 USD
“Untitled” (1963-1963), metal, 94.5 x 67 x 124 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: 14 November 2000 for $1,160,750 USD
  • Around the same size and format, but in black
  • Sold for over $1M, exceeding the estimate and a huge sum in 2000
  • Calder’s market as a whole has since increased 8-fold

Sculptures in Museums and Public Installations

"Homage to Jerusalem – Stabile (1977), steel, 72 feet long, Mount Herzl Jerusalem
“Homage to Jerusalem – Stabile (1977), steel, 72 feet long, Mount Herzl Jerusalem
"Maquette for the Jerusalem Stabile" (1976), painted steel, 17.3 x 38.6 x 21.7 in., Israel Museum Jerusalem
“Maquette for the Jerusalem Stabile” (1976), painted steel, 17.3 x 38.6 x 21.7 in., Israel Museum Jerusalem
"Jerusalem Stabile" (1979), painted steel, 90 x 144 x 174 ft., Penn Art Collection, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“Jerusalem Stabile” (1979), painted steel, 90 x 144 x 174 ft., Penn Art Collection, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
"Stegosaurus (Intermediate maquette)" (1973), painted steel, 160 x 171 x 96 in., Toledo Museum of Art
“Stegosaurus (Intermediate maquette)” (1973), painted steel, 160 x 171 x 96 in., Toledo Museum of Art
Study for “The Crab” (1961), painted sheet metal, 20 1/8 x 40 x 20 ½ in., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Study for “The Crab” (1961), painted sheet metal, 20 1/8 x 40 x 20 ½ in., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
"Saurien" (1975), painted steel, 18 feet tall, Madison and 57th, New York, New York
“Saurien” (1975), painted steel, 18 feet tall, Madison and 57th, New York, New York
"La Grande Vitesse" (1969), painted steel, 43 x 30 x 54 ft., Vandenberg Plaza, Grand Rapids, Michigan
“La Grande Vitesse” (1969), painted steel, 43 x 30 x 54 ft., Vandenberg Plaza, Grand Rapids, Michigan
"Sandy’s Butterfly" (1964), painted stainless steel and iron rods, 152 x 110 x 102 ¾ in., Museum of Modern Art, New York
“Sandy’s Butterfly” (1964), painted stainless steel and iron rods, 152 x 110 x 102 ¾ in., Museum of Modern Art, New York

Image Gallery

Additional Resources

Watch: Alexander Calder’s Jerusalem Stabile at The Huntington
Read: “‘Jerusalem Stabile:’ The Big Red Structure Outside Meyerson” in “34th Street Magazine”
Read: “The Jerusalem Stabile” Published by the Israel Museum

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