Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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African head

Artist:
Alexander Calder (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1898–1976 New York)
Date:
ca. 1928
Medium:
Wood
Dimensions:
H. 15-1/2, W. 5-1/2, D. 8 inches (39.4 x 14 x 20.3 cm.)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of Charles Oppenheim, Jr., 1966
Accession Number:
66.75.1
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 911
In the United States, the popularity of the direct carving technique coincided with a growing appreciation of African and pre-Columbian art. Influenced by these works, Calder started to use this method while living in New York in 1928 and preferred to carve his sculptures out of tropical woods such as lignum vitae, cocobolo, rosewood, and ebony. Explaining his working process, Calder later recalled, "Then I made things in wood, taking a lump of wood and making very little alternation in its shape—just enough to turn it into something different."
Inscription: Signed (carved into right back of neck): Calder
Charles Oppenheim, Jr., New York (until 1966; his gift to MMA)

Cincinnati. Taft Museum. "Early Works: Alexander Calder," December 12, 1971–January 31, 1972, unnumbered cat.

Jayne Merkel. Early Works: Alexander Calder. Exh. cat., Taft Museum. [Cincinnati], 1971, unpaginated, ill.

Richard Meyer. "Changing Partners: Richard Meyer on 'Reimagining Modernism' at the Met." Artforum (November 2015), p. 146.



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