The first biography of America's greatest twentieth-century sculptor. In this beautifully written, deeply researched book Jed Perl shows how Alexander Calder became an avant-garde artist with enduring appeal. One of our most beloved modern artists, Calder is celebrated above all as the inventor of the mobile. Only now is the full story of his life being told in a gloriously illustrated biography, which features unseen photographs and is based on scores of interviews and unprecedented access to Calder's papers. Born into a family of artists, Calder forged important friendships with a who's who of twentieth-century masters, including Joan Miro, Marcel Duchamp, Georges Braque, and Piet Mondrian. His early years studying engineering were followed by artistic triumphs in Paris in the late 1920s, and his emergence as a leader in the international abstract avant-garde. His marriage in 1931 to Louisa James-- a great-niece of Henry James--is a richly romantic story. This transatlantic life carries readers from New York's Greenwich Village, to the Left Bank of Paris during the Depression, and then to a refugee-filled London just before the War, where Calder's circle of friends included Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Kenneth Clark.
Jed Perl is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books. He was the art critic for The New Republic for twenty years and a contributing editor to Vogue for a decade, and is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. His previous books include Magicians and Charlatans, Antoine's Alphabet, and New Art City, which was a New York Times Notable Book and an Atlantic Book of the Year.