History & Mission

HISTORY & MISSION

The Calder Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization founded in 1987 by Alexander S. C. Rower and the Calder family, is dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, preserving, and interpreting the art and archives of Alexander Calder and is charged with an unmatched collection of his works. The purposes of the Foundation include the furtherance of public knowledge and appreciation for the visual arts; the conduct of research in art history and related subjects, and the provision of the results of that research to the general public; and the provision of facilities and programs to assist the education and development of visual artists. The Foundation’s projects include collaborating on exhibitions and publications, organizing and maintaining the Calder archives, examining works attributed to Calder, and cataloguing the artist’s works. Over the past several years, the Calder Foundation has expanded its programming to include its own exhibitions, lectures, performances, and events on Calder as well as contemporary artists, including those whose work the Foundation supports through its biannual Calder Prize and the Atelier Calder residency program in Saché, France. 

Trustees & Advisors

TRUSTEES & ADVISORS

Members of the Board of Trustees

Chairman and President

Alexander S. C. Rower, Calder’s grandson

Secretary

Sandra Calder Davidson, Calder’s daughter

Treasurer

John Perna, certified public accountant and senior partner of L. H. Frishkoff & Company

Vice Presidents

Andréa Davidson, Calder’s granddaughter

Shawn Davidson, Calder’s grandson

Peter Lipman, research geologist and past president of the San Jose Museum of Art 

Holton Rower, Calder’s grandson

Gryphon Rower-Upjohn, Calder’s great-grandson

Seán Sweeney, linguist, farmer, trustee and executor of the Estate of James Johnson Sweeney, and trustee of the Estate of James Joyce

Advisors

Stanley Cohen, Calder’s neighbor, friend, and personal attorney

David R. Collens, director of Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, New York, and co-curator of the 2001–2003 exhibition Grand Intuitions: Calder's Monumental Sculpture

Joost Elffers, publisher and packager of high-concept, interactive, nonlinear manuscripts, including Giftwraps by Artists, Tangrams, The 48 Laws of Power, Play with Your Food, and Sustainism Is the New Modernism; and consultant to various organizations, such as Myksenaar, a Dutch design firm that specializes in “way-finding” and flow for airports, museums, and other locations

Carmen Giménez, curator of the 2003 retrospective exhibition Calder: Gravity and Grace at the Fundación del Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid

Arne Glimcher, founder of The Pace Gallery in New York City

Daniel Lelong, founder of Galerie Lelong in Paris

Alfred Pacquement, previous director of Musée national d’art moderne / Centre Pompidou, Paris, and president of Atelier Calder, Saché.

Arnauld Pierre, professor at Sorbonne University (Paris) and author of nine books and articles on Calder, including Calder: La sculpture en mouvement (1996)

Marla Prather, senior consultant for modern and contemporary art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and co-curator of the 1998 centennial retrospective exhibition Alexander Calder: 1898–1976 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Mark Rosenthal, adjunct curator at the Detroit Institute of Arts, curator of the 2005 exhibition The Surreal Calder, and co-curator of Calder Jewelry in 2008

Ann Y. Smith, an art historian with special expertise in Connecticut's history, is former director (1976–1998) and curator (1998–2004) of the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, Connecticut. She is the author of numerous books and articles, including Hidden in Plain Sight: the Whittemore Collection and the French Impressionists, published in 2009. 

Elizabeth Hutton Turner, vice provost for the arts at the University of Virginia, former senior curator of the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and curator of the 2004 exhibition Calder–Miró in conjunction with the Beyeler Foundation

In Memoriam

Louisa James Calder was Alexander Calder’s wife of 45 years, and mother of his two children, Sandra and Mary. The pair met on a New York-bound steamship from Europe in 1929 and married two years later.

Mary Calder Rower, the second daughter of Alexander and Louisa Calder, was a dedicated and effective supporter of her father’s legacy. She was a founding trustee of the Calder Foundation and was integral to the creation of the Atelier Calder residency program in Saché. 

Giovanni Carandente authored twelve books and articles on Calder and curated the 1983 exhibition Calder: The Retrospective at Palazzo a Vela in Turin, Italy.

Pontus Hulten spent a lifetime in the European museum art world and was a champion of Calder’s work. He was the founding director of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and director of Moderna Museet in Stockholm, where he was instrumental in organizing the acquisition and installation of Calder’s important outdoor motorized sculpture, The Four Elements.

Jean Lipman was the curator of the seminal 1976 retrospective Calder’s Universe at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Through gifts and purchase funds, Jean and her husband Howard made possible the core of the Whitney’s impressive Calder collection, including Cirque Calder, acquired in 1983.

Richard D. Marshall, formerly of the Whitney Museum of American Art, was curator of the 1987 exhibition Alexander Calder: Sculptures of the Nineteen Thirties and the 2001 exhibition Alexander Calder: Motion and Color, which travelled to seven cities in Japan

Thomas M. Messer was the director emeritus of the Guggenheim Foundation, former director of the Guggenheim Museum, and curator of the 1964 exhibition Alexander Calder: A Retrospective Exhibition.

Howard Rower, son-in-law of Alexander Calder, was an intimate of Calder’s until the Artist's death in 1976, and was the founding chairman of the Calder Foundation.

Collection

COLLECTION

The Calder Foundation has been charged with a collection of Calder works that is unsurpassed in both scope and depth. This collection is comprised of thousands of pieces from all periods of Calder’s life. It includes more than 600 sculptures (including mobiles, stabiles, standing mobiles, wire sculptures, and monumental outdoor works), as well as thousands of oil paintings, works on paper, toys, pieces of jewelry, and household objects. At any given time, a large number of these works are on public view, either in traveling exhibitions or on long-term loan to institutions (see On View Now).

Archives

ARCHIVES

The Calder Foundation has amassed and organized an exhaustive archive on Alexander Calder and his work. The archive contains more than 26,000 historic photographs, dozens of films, and thousands of books, magazines, and press clippings, in addition to over 130,000 documents. Among these documents are collections of correspondence covering all aspects of Calder’s life and career; inventory records from Calder’s American and European dealers; catalogues and exhibition materials; bank statements; passports, visas, and travel documents; and extensive documentation of the creation of Calder’s monumental sculpture.

The Foundation has registered in its archive more than 22,000 works made by Calder. From monumental sculptures, mobiles, stabiles, paintings, and drawings, to lesser known works such as jewelry, furniture, and household tools, the Foundation documents the image, title, date, size, media, provenance, and publication and exhibition history for each work. Updates to these records continue daily with research and correspondence between more than 4,000 museums, collectors, dealers, auction houses, and scholars worldwide.

Owners of works attributed to Calder are encouraged to register their works in the archive and to update the Foundation with any changes to their collections.

The archive is a resource for curators and scholars but it is not open to the general public. Much of the information on Calder’s work and life documented in the archive may be found under these headings on our website. Researchers may explore our extensive bibliography and exhibition history, archival photographs, selected historical texts, and a chronology spanning the artist’s career.

Calder Prize

CALDER PRIZE

The Calder Prize is awarded biannually to honor a living artist who has completed exemplary and innovative early work and who has demonstrated the potential to make a major contribution to the field. Created by the Calder Foundation in collaboration with the Scone Foundation in 2005, the Calder Prize grew out of the success of the Atelier Calder residency program located at Calder’s former studio in Saché, France. The Prize consists of $50,000, the opportunity to complete a six-month residency at the Atelier Calder, and the facilitation of a gift of the recipient’s defining works to a major public collection. Past recipients are Rachel Harrison, 2011; Tomas Saraceno, 2009; Zilvinas Kempinas, 2007; and Tara Donovan, 2005.

Atelier Calder

ATELIER CALDER

Saché, France
 

The Calder Estate and the Centre National des Arts Plastiques established the Association pour l’animation de l’Atelier Calder in 1989 as an artist-in-residence program.

For three-month periods, international artists are invited to live in Calder’s house, work in Calder’s studio, and enjoy technical and financial support to help them realize undertakings that might otherwise prove daunting.

Visit the Atelier Calder website.