ALEXANDER CALDER IN THE SCULPTURE GARDEN OF THE RIJKSMUSEUM in Blog

get cultured


left: close-up of Crinkly (1969); right: glimpse of the glamorous & spectacular opening of the Alexander Calder exhibition in the gardens on Saturday evening the 21st of June

The second summer exhibition in the Sculpture Garden of the Rijksmuseum exceeds its expectations by far with an impressive exhibition of sculptures by Alexander Calder (1898-1976). 14 monumental sculptures and mobiles are displayed in the museum’s new outdoor gallery. Never before have so many works by Calder been gathered in open air. Guest curator Alfred Pacquement, former director of Musée National d’Art Moderne Centre Pompidou in Paris, has selected mobiles, stabiles, and standing mobiles by Calder from major museums and private collections. The exhibition is the second in a series of annual international sculpture displays which will be presented in the Rijksmuseum’s gardens over the next four years: Henry Moore was the first.


Untitled II (c. 1970): in addition to being an interplay of motion and equilibrium, Calder’s scupltures are also spatial compositions of colour

Alexander Calder revolutionised the art of sculpture by making movement one of its main components. Yet his invention of the “mobile”, a word coined in 1931 by artist Marcel Duchamp to designate Calder’s moving sculpture, was only one of Calder’s achievements. The perfectly balanced constructions, moved by a touch of air, are made of metal elements, wires, threads and sticks, they become more complex and abstract over the years, however, their impression is always one of great poetry and playful airiness. As counterparts to the “Mobiles”, Alexander Calder also makes immobile, tectonically heavy, partly monumental constructions of sheet metal, for which Jean Arp invents the term “Stabile”.
Both his “Mobiles” and “Stabiles” as well as his “Standing mobiles” (anchored moving sculptures) are shown at this incredible exhibition.


‘the first art car’ created by Alexander Calder for his friend Herve Poulain


left: Tuinhuis where you can buy Rijksmuseum blend coffee, ‘stroopwafels’ and homemade & fresh lemonade; right: Playground structures (1947-1957) by Aldo van Eyck (1918-1999) and Crinkly (1969) by Calder in the back: his play structures respond to children’s natural desire to climb, jump, swing and tumble about


left: Tamanoir (1963), the only Dutch monumental Calder sculpture, seen through stabile; right: in addition to the 14 sculptures in the garden, four sculptures of the exhibition can be found inside the museum: three in the Atrium and one gorgeous mobile in the Cuypers Library

The sculptures by Alexander Calder can be found at several other gloobles tips: Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen, Fondation Maeght & La Colombe d’Or in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Tate Modern in London, MOMA & Storm King Art Centre in New York and SFMOMA in San Francisco.

The exhi­bi­tion of Alexander Calder in the Summer Sculpture Garden can be seen from June 21 until October 5 2014 at the Rijksmuseum. The Rijksmuseum Gardens are open daily to visitors without a ticket from 9am till 6pm.