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

    Passing Time with Klee: Demonstrating Temporality in Visual Art

    By

    Paul Klee was a “musical” painter, not least because he chose the violin and bow before brush and easel. Klee’s father was a music teacher and his mother a singer, which had a profound effect on his approach to painting.  Fugue in Red (1921) is one...

  • 20th century

    Tina Modotti. A Woman of Her Time

    By

    Tina Modotti is a photographer whose path parallels the great moments of 20th-century history. Her way of making art is a testimony to the world around her and her eye on it. Emigration to the States Tina Modotti was born in 1896 in Italy to a...

  • 20th century

    Make Everywhere Our New York: Keith Haring Exhibition to Inspire Liverpool Millennials

    By

    Why do Keith Haring’s works still matter in 2019? With Brexit approaching the deadline, Tate Liverpool welcomes the first major exhibition in the UK of Keith Haring. Here are some highlights at the exhibition that Liverpool millennials think are inspirational at this critical transitional point. Go...

  • 20th century

    The Largest Mural on Earth

    By

    Early Fall, for students around the world, means one thing: back to school, back to writing papers, and exam preparations. For students of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), it means back to Ciudad Universitaria, the beautiful complex of modernist buildings, planned by a group...

  • 20th century

    The Dystopian Surrealism of Zdzislaw Beksinski

    By

    There are many fans of gruesome and gore art who are attracted to the dystopian surrealism of Zdzisław Beksiński. After all, he created such a gothic, haunting and stressful ambience in his paintings, making it hard to look away. He was a pioneer of Polish contemporary...

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