Le Tamanoir (1965) Alexander Calder

Aad Hoogendoorn
About the artwork

Le Tamanoir was placed at the end of 1965 in Hoogvliet. The municipality of Rotterdam bought the work at the beginning of 1964 at a solo exhibition by Alexander Calder at Galerie Maegt in Paris. A considerable sum had just been reserved for the beautification of the new Hoogvliet neighborhood and, in this context, they were very interested in a sculpture by Calder. This is apparent from a letter from 13 in March 1964 from the head of the Art Affairs department to the Alderman for Art Affairs: “It was initially considered to consult with Calder about the possibility of an assignment, it is a coincidence that a plastic of this is an artist for sale, who, in terms of both form and format, fully meets the requirements of the situation in Hoogvliet, "he wrote. The gallery had stipulated that after the sale to Rotterdam the image would first be shown at the Documenta III art exhibition in Kassel in 1964, together with four other 'stabiles' by Calder. The Urban Embellishment Committee was happy to cooperate: after all, it meant more publicity for the object that would soon adorn Rotterdam. The sculpture consists of stylized forms, cut from sheet steel and riveted to each other by means of enormous bolts into a monumental spatial construction. Not many people will immediately think of an anteater upon seeing this image, but once tracked by the title, the characteristic head of the beast, the heavy legs and the bent abdomen can be recognized. The anatomy of the anteater is not exactly imitated in the sculpture, but represented in a stylized manner. For more information: Sculpture International Rotterdam

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About the artist

Alexander Calder (Lawnton, Pennsylvania, 1898 - New York, 1976) was one of the best known American sculptors. He studied from 1923 to 1925 at the Art Students League in New York. He then moved to Paris and came in contact with the avant-garde. Initially, Calder made spatial wire figures and plastic sculptures from wood. The first 'mobiles' were created around 1931, which made him famous. They are hanging, wind-moving compositions of flat elements connected by iron wire. A little later the 'stabiles' appeared: standing, fixed constructions, constructed from intersecting plates of metal. They are derived from the mobiles that had such structures as their base. In the '60 and' 70 years, many stabiles and mobiles were carried out in a monumental format; they usually consist of biomorphic forms derived from living organisms. They often depict animals: sometimes based on the existing world, sometimes arising from an abstract fantasy world. Color is also a role in Calder's sculptures. He painted his sculptures in a limited palette: the primary colors red, yellow and blue, combined with black and white.

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