Alexander Calder was born in 1898 in Pennsylvania, the second child of parents who were artists. His father (Alexander Stirling Calder) was a Sculpture and his mother was a painter.
His father received many public commissions so the family traveled across the country throughout Calder?s childhood. He was encouraged to be creative and from the age of eight he always had his own workshop wherever the family lived. In fact for Christmas of 1909 he presented his parents with his first sculptures, a tiny Dog and a Duck cut from a brass sheet and bent into formation.
Despite his talent, he did not originally set out to be an artist. Instead, after High School he enrolled at the Stevens Institute of Technology and graduated with a degree in Engineering. After graduation for several years he worked various jobs. One of which was as a Fireman in a ships boiler room. Once while serving on a ship from New York which was bound for San Francisco he awoke on the deck to see both a brilliant sunset and a scintillating full moon, each was visible on opposite horizons (the ship at the time lay off the Guatemalan coast). This left a lasting impression on Calder and he would often refer to it throughout his life. Shortly after that experience he committed to becoming an artist. In 1923 he moved to New York and enrolled at the Art Students League.
He had his first solo show at Weyhe Gallery in New York. The show at Weyhe was soon followed by others in New York as well as in Paris and Berlin and consequently he spent a great deal of time crossing the ocean by boat. He met Louisa James (a grandniece of Henry James the writer) on one of these steamer journeys and they were married in January of 1931. In 1933 Calder and Louisa left France and returned to the United States where they purchased an old farmhouse in Roxbury, Connecticut. He converted an icehouse that was attached to the house into a studio for himself. Calder experimented with many techniques and medias including; drawings, oils, watercolors, etchings, qouache, serigraphy, sculpture and motorized sculpture.
During his lifetime and after his death he has been the subject of many retrospective at prominent galleries and Museums throughout the world such as The Guggenheim Museum in New York, and in 1976 he attended the opening of yet another retrospective of his work ?Calder?s Universe?, at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. A few weeks after that Calder died in New York at the age of 78. Thus ending the most prolific and innovative artistic career of the Twentieth century.