Tag Archives: Alexander Calder

Happy Birthday Alexander Calder

Today, we would like to celebrate the birthday of Alexander Calder. He would have turned 113 years old.

Alexander Calder (1898-1976) was one of the most prolific and influential artists of the 20th century, and he achieved international acclaim through his abstract paintings, mobiles, stabiles, lithographs, and jewelry. After graduating from engineering school, Calder worked a multitude of jobs, including a crew member on a boat, where on a voyage from San Francisco to New York he was startled awake by a sunset opposite a full moon, simultaneously hovering on the horizon. He moved to New York and became an artist shortly after this profound experience. By creating his own three-dimensional forms – known as mobiles, some of his most famous creations – Calder redefined sculpture through wire twisted into abstract arrangements that float in accordance with the wind.

Some Calder highlights in LAMA’s history are:

Lot 10
Alexander Calder
Butterfly and Spiral, 1970
Gouache on paper
June 26, 2011 Auction
Estimate $35,000 – $45,000
Realized $75,000

Lot 25
Alexander Calder, Untitled
, 1953
Gouache on paper
Provenance:  From the collection of James Byrnes, Los Angeles
March 6, 2011 Auction
Estimate $15,000-20,000
Realized $25,000

Lot 31
Alexander Calder
Hand wrought hair comb

December 2006
Estimate $10,000 – 12,000
Realized $36,000

Lot 30
Alexander Calder
, 1975, Edition of 100
Hand woven maguey jute fiber
June 2008 Auction
Estimate $1,500 – 2,000
Realized $1,837.50

Lot 445
Alexander Calder
Untitled (LACMA exhibition poster)

Color Lithograph, 1965
October 2010 Auction
Estimate $1,500 – 2,000
Realized $1,837.50


LAMA goes to Foundation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France.
(Images by Shannon Loughrey on her June 2010 trip to the South of France.)

PS. Don’t know if you’ve seen Google’s homepage yet. Definitely worth checking out!

Calder.org. Calder Foundation, 2011. Web. 24 May 2011.

The James Byrnes Collection

We have the great honor to offer 50 lots from the James Byrnes collection in the March 6, 2011 Modern Art & Design Auction.

From 1946 – 1953 James Byrnes was the first curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Los Angeles County Museum of History, Science, and Art, which is now known as LACMA. In the thirties, Byrnes had studied art in New York at the National Academy of Design, the Art Students League, and the American Artists School, where he had met many artists before WWII. Byrnes, who served in the Navy during WWII, heard from an officer that a job was opening at the County Museum, so he left his home state of New York and moved to Los Angeles to pursue his career.

In 1946, W. R. Valentiner became the director of the art wing of the County Museum and encouraged Byrnes in his love for modern art.  While at the County Museum, Valentiner became Byrnes’ mentor and broadened his knowledge of art as a whole. As their friendship grew, Valentiner became the director of the North Carolina Museum of Art and decided to appoint Byrnes as his associate director. After Valentiner’s death in 1958, Byrnes subsequently became the director of the North Carolina Museum of Art. From 1962 – 1972, Byrnes would go on to direct the New Orleans Museum of Art, and finally from 1973 – 1975, he was the director of the Newport Harbor Art Museum where he would end his career of directing.

James and his wife Barbara were heavily involved in the Los Angeles art scene in the 40s and 50s. They became friends with many noted artists from Man Ray, William Copley, Claire Falkenstein, Roberto Matta, to Max Ernest, Dorthea Tanning, Inez Johnson, among others.  Byrnes loved all that was modern. His son Ron Byrnes notes that his father “thought contemporary art was the thing that was happening.” Even though Byrnes painted early in his life, he decided that he was better suited to be a docent, a curator, and ultimately a director.

Highlights from the James Byrnes collection include a Harry Bertoia brooch, an Alexander Calder work on paper, a Pablo Picasso lithograph from edition of 50, a Roberto Matta drawing, and an Elaine de Kooning painting from 1949.

Lot Information

Lot 25
Alexander Calder
Gouache on paper
Foundation #A25187
This work was examined and registered with the Calder Foundation, January 2011 and issued registration #A25187
22.375” x 17.375”
Provenance: From the Collection of James Byrnes, Los Angeles
Estimate: $15,000-20,000

Lot 326
Man Ray
Mixed media
#33 of 200
“Retains label “Edition The New York Cultural Center/Objet In-Desctructable 1923-1975” and signed “MR” and numbered 33/200
9.25”h x 4.5” x 4.5”
Provenance:  From the Collection of James Byrnes, Los Angeles
Estimate $2,000-3,000

Lot 22
Elaine de Kooning
Gouache on paper
Signed and dated lower right “49 E. de K.”
Sheet 13.5″h x 17.75″w; frame 17.75″h x 21.75″w
Exhibited: Isaac Del Gado Museum of Art, 1971
Provenance: From the Collection of James Byrnes, Los Angeles
Estimate $2,000 – 3,000

Lot 398
Pablo Picasso
The Lobster
#24 of 50
Signed lower right in red; edition lower left
Catalogue Raisonne Mourlot #143
Sheet 22” x 30; image 21.5” x 27.5”
Literature: Picasso Lithographs, Mourlot, Boston Book Publisher, 1970, pg 126
Provenance: From the collection of James Byrnes, Los Angeles
Estimate $6,000-8,000

March 6, 2011 Auction Lots ONLINE NOW

Count down till the March 6, 2011 Modern Art & Design Auction: 16 days

From Sottsass and Calder to Matta and Bertoia, the March 6th auction is full of fresh property from important estates.

Go to the LAMA website to view all the lots with complete listings.

To bid, please fill out the LAMA Bid Form and fax or email back to Shannon@lamodern.com, or to speak with a LAMA representative by calling 323-904-1950.

Don’t forget, all bids must be submitted no later than March 5th by 5pm (Pacific).