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Anjelica Huston wearing The Jealous Husband (c. 1940), Cover of the New York Times Magazine, 1976. Photo: Evelyn Hofer, 1976.

SAN DIEGO< CA.- For the first time, jewelry created by the great American sculptor Alexander Calder is the subject of a comprehensive exhibition entitled Calder Jewelry. This special exhibition will be on view at the San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) from July 25, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2010.

Calder Jewelry brings together approximately 90 works by the famed modernist — including necklaces, bracelets, brooches, earrings and tiaras — that demonstrate the artist’s love of abstraction and his unique mastery of this wearable art form. The works in the exhibition were all worn by family and close friends of the artist, as well as by some of the most celebrated figures in 20th-century cultural history.

“Alexander Calder is today best known for his powerful, monumental sculptures. The works in this show are miniature mobiles and stabiles, related to and no less beautiful than the work that is so familiar to us from its siting in civic plazas. They are, at the same, unquestionably intimate and intensely personal expressions. In the end, Calder’s jewelry pieces are exquisite demonstrations of this major artist’s contributions to the history of art, which should not be missed,” said Derrick R. Cartwright, SDMA’s executive director.

Calder (1898–1976) was born into a family of well-known artists and made his first wire sculpture in 1925. In 1930, he began to experiment boldly with abstraction and in 1931, occasionally added moving parts to his works. He later coined the term “mobiles” to describe these unprecedented sculptures. Major examples of Calder’s sculpture can be seen throughout the world, including at the National Gallery of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as at SDMA. Calder’s large work, entitled Spinal Column (1968) will be resituated at the front of SDMA, following extensive conservation treatment, in conjunction with the opening of Calder Jewelry.

Conceiving of his objects as “wearable mobiles,” Calder individually hammered, chiseled, shaped and composed more than 1,800 pieces of jewelry, each in a fashion that precisely echoed the linear yet three-dimensional aspect found in his sculpture. He made his works of jewelry by combining non-precious material and found objects with brass, silver and gold.

The exhibition at SDMA includes jewelry made from a recipient’s monogram and jewelry created by shaping an individual’s name into a decorative pattern. Among those presented with such pieces were Louisa James Calder, the artist’s wife; the artist’s close friend, Georgia O’Keeffe; Pilar Miró and Teeny Matisse Duchamp, the wives of Surrealist artists Joan Miró and Marcel Duchamp; Jeanne Buñuel, wife of the filmmaker Luis Buñuel; and Bella Chagall, wife of Marc Chagall.
Calder Jewelry comes to San Diego after having been on view at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin. Following its stay in San Diego, it will travel to the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

“SDMA is honored to serve as the exclusive West Coast location for two landmark exhibitions of such popular appeal and intellectual significance, first with Richard Avedon: Portraits of Power and now Calder Jewelry,” said Cartwright. “By bringing work of this caliber to San Diego, SDMA affirms the city’s place as a top art destination in the U.S.”

Calder Jewelry, a collaboration between the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida, and the Calder Foundation, New York, was co-curated by Mark Rosenthal and Alexander S.C. Rower, director of the Calder Foundation. Calder Jewelry is curated locally by Julia Marciari-Alexander, SDMA’s new deputy director for curatorial affairs. Rarely seen works from important local collections will be the subject of a simultaneous focus modern art exhibition, Picasso, Miró, Calder in San Diego, also curated by Marciari-Alexander.

Calder Jewelry is accompanied by an impressive companion book of the same title, which is published by the Calder Foundation.

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Louisa Calder’s 53rd Birthday Gift brooch, 1958, Gold and steel wire 2 1/2 x 5 1/4 in. Inscription: “XIX.II.LVIII”, Private Collection, New York. © 2007 Calder Foundation, New York. Photography © 2007 Maria Robledo

Quelques bijoux de Calder passés récemment aux enchères

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Alexander Calder (1898-1976) Untitled (spiral pendant), copper, 3½ x 2 1/8 in. (8.9 x 5.4 cm.). Executed circa 1957.

Estimate: $18,000 - $22,000 - Price Realized $40,000

Provenance: Mary James Brown, Massachusetts, gif of the artist
Wm. Slater Brown, Massachusetts
By descent to the present owner

Notes : This work is registered in the archives of the Calder Foundation, New York under application number A09893.

Christie's. Post-war and Contemporary Art Morning Sale. 14 May 2009.  New York, Rockefeller Plaza www.christies.com

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Alexander Calder, Untitled (Crab Brooch), hammered brass, 1/4 by 5 by 1/4 in. 8.3 by 12.7 by 0.6 cm.

Executed circa 1938, this work is registered in the archives of the Calder Foundation, New York, under application number A00197. Est. 60,000—80,000 USD. Lot Sold 98,500 USD

PROVENANCE: Perls Galleries, New York
Private Collection, Connecticut
Skinner Inc., Boston, June 9, 1998, Lot 70
Acquired by the present owner from the above sale

EXHIBITED: New York, Perls Galleries, Bijoux de Calder, November - December 1966

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: Gualtieri di San Lazzaro, ed., Hommage à Calder, Paris, 1972, p. 91, illustrated
Exh, Cat., New York, Whitney Museum of American Art (and travelling), Calder's Universe, October 1976 - October 1977, p. 210, illustrated (incorrect caption)
Daniel Marchesseau, Calder Intime, Paris, 1989, p. 356, illustrated

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Alexander Calder, Untitled (Bracelet), hammered brass, 2 by 3 by 3 in. 5.1 by 7.6 by 7.6 cm.

Executed circa 1940, this work is registered in the archives of the Calder Foundation, New York, under application number A01743. Est. 30,000—40,000 USD. Lot Sold 43,750 USD

PROVENANCE: Perls Galleries, New York
Harcus Krakow Rosen Sonnabend Gallery, Boston
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 1975

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Alexander Calder, Untitled (Necklace), hammered brass, 13 1/4 by 11 by 2 in. 33.7 by 27.9 by 5.1 cm.

Executed circa 1938, this work is registered in the archives of the Calder Foundation, New York, under application number A19181. Est. 80,000—100,000 USD. Lot Sold 98,500 USD

PROVENANCE: Private Collection, Chicago
Doyle, New York, November 1, 2000, Lot 108
Acquired by the present owner from the above sale

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Alexander Calder, Untitled, brass, 3 3/4 by 3 by 1/4 in. 9.5 by 7.6 by 0.6 cm.

Executed in 1966, this work is registered in the archives of the Calder Foundation, New York, under application number A05402. Est. 25,000—35,000 USD. Lot Sold 52,500 USD

PROVENANCE: Perls Galleries, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 1966

EXHIBITED: New York, Perls Galleries, Calder: Jewelry, November - December 1966

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Alexander Calder, Untitled (Brooch), galvanized iron, glass, steel and brass wire, 4 1/2 by 3 1/2 by 1 1/2 in. 11.4 by 8.9 by 3.8 cm.

Executed circa 1950, this work is registered in the archives of the Calder Foundation, New York, under application number A23292. Est. 50,000—70,000 USD. Lot Sold 92,500 USD

PROVENANCE: Louise Pershing, Pittsburgh (acquired directly from the artist)
Cory Margolis, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above

NOTE: Louise Pershing was the daughter of General John Joseph Pershing, General of the Armies, the highest rank ever held in the United States Army.

Sotheby's. Contemporary Art Day Sale. 13 May 09. New York www.sothebys.com