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Alexander CALDER

Ice rink




Aubusson tapestry woven in the Pinton Workshop.
Complete with label, n°EX-A.
Circa 1970.



Calder first made a name for himself as a sculptor and then as a painter, but later in life he discovered an enthusiasm for tapestry (having designed rugs for Marie Cuttoli in the 1950’s), after meeting Pierre Baudouin in 1961. It was Baudouin who originally transcribed the first of this artist’s designs, and oversaw their weaving, first of all at the Picard workshop and then at the Gobelins (« Composition »  in 1964-1965), of which he had become the artistic consultant in accordance with Malraux’s desire to see contemporary artists of note collaborate with the Manufactures Nationales. Numerous tapestries of this particular artist would from this point on to the end of his life be woven, most notably at the Pinton workshop. “His compositions in very bright colours of large motifs laid against a plain background are reminiscent of the airiness of his mobiles » (M. Jarry, la tapisserie, art du Xxe siècle, 1974).


Of the tens of cartoons by Calder which were woven in Aubusson, « Ice Rink » is the largest (the only other exception being a 12 m2 work woven at Les Gobelins). We can recognise the abstract motifs and primary colours typical of the artist’s work, here associated with black (the spirals and “pebbles”), white and a rather more unusual pearl-grey which opens up an ample open space (perhaps the Ice Rink of the title). One can also see here an echo of the standing vertical mobiles also created by the artist with their balancing spiral pendulum.


Bibliography :
Exhibition Cat. Des sculpteurs et la tapisserie, 20 ans d’abstraction, Angers, Musée Jean Lurçat et de la Tapisserie Contemporaine, 1995
Exhibition Cat.  Pierre Baudouin, tapisseries de peintres, Angers, Musée Jean Lurçat et de la Tapisserie Contemporaine, 1997
Exhibition Cat. Expo. Manufactures Nationales de 1960 à nos jours, Angers, Musée Jean Lurçat et de la Tapisserie Contemporaine, 2010