Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

Alexander Calder’s The Eagle in Seattle

alexander calder's the eagle
Alexander Calder, The Eagle, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle WA, painted steel, source: Pxhere

20th century

Alexander Calder’s The Eagle in Seattle

American sculptor, Alexander Calder, most famous for his kinetic moving, suspended mobile sculptures, also created a number of massive stationary works known as stabiles. One such sculpture is The Eagle. It is the centrepiece of the Olympic Sculpture Park located in Seattle, WA. At 12 meters tall (38 feet), it is the antithesis of the delicate, hanging mobiles, and provides a unique and powerful presence in the park.

alexander calder's the eagle

Alexander Calder, The Eagle, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle WA, painted steel, source: Trover.com

Calder (1898-1976) a third generation sculptor was born in Pennsylvania. Before heading to the Art Student League in New York in the 1920s, he studied mechanical engineering. His background in engineering clearly influenced his work. He spent much of his early art career in Paris garnering exposure to Abstract Art, Surrealism, Dada and artists such as Miró and Mondrian. It was his fellow artist, Marcel Duchamp, who gave the name “mobiles” to Calder’s iconic suspended, hanging sculptures.

alexander calder's the eagle

Alexander Calder, Arc of Petals, 1941, Aluminum, Peggy Guggenheim Museum, Venice

A classic example of a Calder mobile is Arc of Petals (1941). Flat pieces of hand-sculpted aluminium are connected by wires with petals and leaves budding along the spine. One leaf is left unpainted to expose the raw aluminium material. The pieces are set in motion by air, emphasizing natural movement, along with a sense of playfulness and grace. These aspects are contrasted strongly by the monumental stabiles.

alexander calder's the eagle

Alexander Calder in his studio, source:  TheRestList.com


In the 1950s, Calder began creating stabiles. Gigantic, heavy, earthy and deeply symbolic of urbanism, they are the polar opposite of the light, ethereal, choreographed composition of mobiles. The Eagle was created in 1971. It was owned by the Fort Worth National Bank and housed in front of their headquarters in Texas.

The Eagle weighs over 6 tons. The red-painted steel is an abstract marvel. Its curves and spikes resemble origami. And it looks almost aeroplane-like with its rivets and 10-meter wingspan – hearkening to Seattle’s aviation history. Situated in the downtown area, the Olympic Sculpture Park is a six-acre site designed for the Seattle Art Museum. An urban park in a former industrial area compiling art, architecture, nature and landscapes. The Eagle was purchased by Seattle Art Museum in 2003 at a sum of $10 million. Located outside, the sculpture requires maintenance not needed in museums. Birds cause frequent damage and gardeners are required to use scissors to tend to the grass around it.

alexander calder's the eagle

Alexander Calder, The Eagle, Olympic Sculpture Park, source: Weiss/Manfredi Design Firm


Eagles are a prominent bird in Washington State. The towering sculpture holds a specific location in this urban landscape. To one side are the high rises of downtown, and to the other, the Olympic Mountain Range and waters of the Puget Sound. As an artist, Calder was seen as down-to-earth and even described as jovial by his contemporaries. His work engages the themes of urbanism and nature. Sandwiching The Eagle between the various landscapes plays well into these sensibilities and designs.

Find out more:

See Alexander Calder’s unique jewellery!

   

Giotto’s weeping angels started my love affair with art history.
Seattle, WA based.

Comments

More in 20th century

  • 20th century

    Vive la Belle Époque! Giovanni Boldini & Franca Florio

    By

    The history of the Belle Époque reveals many scandalous stories. Behind the elegant portraits are hidden the interesting lives of grand dames and adventurous gentlemen. Drawing inspiration from the article about John Singer Sargent’s Madame X, we decided to tell you about another major artist from...

  • 20th century

    The Dreamlike, Queer Femme Paintings of Marie Laurencin

    By

    Most art fans know the names of the male avant-garde artists in the early 1900s, but fewer people know of the women who mastered the craft. Marie Laurencin was one of those women. She created dreamy, surreal paintings that opened the door to a new realm of feminine...

  • 19th Century

    The Dazzling Davies Sisters and Their Impressionist Art

    By

    The Davies sisters grew up in a remote corner of Victorian Wales. They were religious, teetotal and never married. But these demure young women, with no previous art knowledge, managed to gather together probably the most important collection of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art in the...

  • 20th century

    Painting of the Week: Henri Rousseau, The Football Players

    By

    Welcome to the bizarre world of Henri Rousseau (1844-1910), the quintessential naïve artist, and meet his oneiric, striped football players. Four almost identical men are having a good time, probably in a park in Paris. They are wearing what looks like striped pajamas and they all...

  • 20th century

    Ten Most Expensive Paintings Ever

    By

    9. $170.4 M First time at auction and already kicked the ceiling achieving the second-highest auction price for a painting at the time: $170.4 million. This beautiful nude was bought in 2015 from Laura Mattioli Rossi by Chinese businessman and art collector, Liu Yiqian, who paid...

To Top

Just to let you know, DailyArt Magazine’s website uses cookies to personalise content and adverts, to provide social media features and to analyse traffic. Read cookies policy