ProvenancePrivate Collection (commissioned directly from the artist)
Alexander Calder Estate (Pace Gallery)
Private Collection, Beverly Hills, California
LiteratureEd. Yona Fisher, Calder: The Jerusalem Stabile, Jerusalem: The Israel Museum, 1980. (ill.)
Alexander Calder’s stabiles are a crucial element of the artist’s distinctive visual language. Fellow artist Jean Arp is credited with first using the term “stabile” to distinguish between Calder’s static sculptures and his kinetic sculptures, the “mobiles.” Though Calder’s hanging mobiles are some of his most iconic works, his giant sculptures act as landmarks in cities around the globe, speaking to the proliferation and continued public interest in Calder’s captivating forms.
This work is a maquette of the much larger Jerusalem Stabile, the last monumental sculpture that Calder ever made. The artist constructed a few maquettes – this piece being a unique work, not an editioned series – which were submitted to metal fabricators to construct the final large-scale installation. Calder worked closely with the fabricators to ensure the realization of his vision, though he did not live to see its completion. The manager of the fabrication company, Jacques Bazillon, explained Calder’s insistence that the sculpture be constructed without mechanical devices: “Thus, the finished work recalled in its execution the feeling of craftsmanship, and ‘the scars of workmanship’ remained visible” (“Calder: The Jerusalem Stabile”, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1980). The 72-foot-long, monumental piece was installed on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem in 1977 and was commissioned as part of a larger initiative to improve the quality of life in Jerusalem, to serve as a symbol of modernity and to raise cultural awareness.
Alexander Calder, “Homage to Jerusalem” (1977) in Holland Square, near Mount Herzl in Jerusalem
“Jerusalem Stabile (Intermediate Maquette)” at the Biémont fabrication plant. Image from The Jerusalem Stabile, ed. Yona Fischer, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1980
Calder’s “Flamingo” (1974) is a comparable monumental public installation in the Federal Plaza in Chicago
- 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
- Similar shape, but black
- $5.6M last July, indicating high demand
- Would have likely gone higher at a major auction house
- 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
- 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