The Calder Family and Other Critters: Portraits and Reflections

The Calder Family and Other Critters: Portraits and Reflections

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Alexander Calder was one of the most original artists of the twentieth century and a major figure in American art. Renowned for his mobiles and stabiles, he also created the beloved Calder Circus, an early performance piece now preserved at the Whitney Museum. He was a contemporary and friend of Marcel Duchamp and Joan Miró and collaborated with Martha Graham. His wife, Louisa, was a grandniece of Henry and William James, a liberal society girl from Boston who loved to entertain. Both were characters, full of joie de vivre. When they moved their family to Roxbury, Connecticut, they became a mainstay in a community that included Arthur Miller and Saul Steinberg, who would come to their parties.

In this unique and beautiful work, Sandra Calder Davidson remembers growing up as the daughter of this larger-than-life pair and celebrates the family—the children and grandchildren—that grew out of their loving home. Sandra has a gift for caricaturing people as animals—her father as a circus lion, Louisa as a nippy fox—and the book is organized around these portraits, accompanied by vivid recollections and anecdotes about the subjects. The “other critters” include, besides Miller and Steinberg, other family friends and whimsical fauna she has encountered, like St. Louis Cardinal fans in full cardinal regalia or a Florida gator at a cocktail party for retirees.

Celebrating family and the joyful dance of life, here is a book with the freshness and grace of a Calder mobile.

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