On 12th January 1955 Alexander and Louisa Calder arrived in Bombay and travelled to Ahmedabad, the home of their hosts Kamalini, Gautam and Gira Sarabhai,in India. They remained in India for three months,travelling, sight seeing and, as was always the case with the perennially creative Calder, working. During this stay, Alexander Calder produced nine sculptures as well as some jewellery.
Calder in India, presents a unique opportunity to see the works that Calder produced in response to India and perhaps the last opportunity to see them again all together. We are indebted to the generosity of the different owners for making this possible. It is the first time these works have been seen in public since 1955 –indeed, it is the first time that they have ever been seen in the West.Some of these sculptures’ names reflect the landscape and the environment he was in, such as Franji Pani and Guava. Most of the sculptures were given titles by the artist just before they were unveiled at a private exhibition on 9th March 1955 at the Bhulabhai Memorial Institute in Mumbai, then known as Bombay. The large standing mobile remained untitled as it was
not shown there, having been too large to transport, and will be shown at Ordovas in public for the first time. These works were subsequently shown at a further exhibition which opened on 25th March in Bombay at the Jenhangir Art Gallery. Since then, they have not been exhibited publically, remaining unseen for over half a century. Eight of the nine sculptures created during his stay will be shown in this exhibition. They will be joined by Six Moons over a Mountain, which Calder had sent to his hosts in advance of his visit, and Untitled (1952, known as “Blue Dot” by the Sarabhais who had bought it earlier). Thus, there are ten works in the exhibition.
In 1954 Calder received a letter from Gira Sarabhai inviting him to come to India to stay with them and work while he was there. He was intrigued by the kite flying festival that took place in Ahmedabad on 14th January – “I certainly don’t want to miss that” – and accepted the invitation, announcing that he would just bring his pliers but no other tools (A. Calder, 24 August 1954). A studio was set up for him in the family compound and a workshop was also put at his disposal. He worked intensively for about three weeks before travelling around India as well as Nepal with his wife on a trip organised by his hosts.
Many prominent artistic figures were brought to Ahmedabad, thanks to the friendship and patronage of Kamalini, Gautam and Gira Sarabhai and their connections with the West. Among them were
Le Corbusier, Isamu Noguchi, John Cage, Richard Neutra, Charles Eames, Merce Cunningham, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Rauschenberg. Their visits are significant in helping us to understand what lured Calder and a throng of other artists to this Indian town where many fruitful relationships were formed resulting in a rich outpouring of creativity.
At Ordovas Savile Row Until 3 August
Visit The Exhibition
If you are interested in purchasing this Original Alexander Calder Click Here
Alexander Calder (1898-1976)
printed with the artist’s and publisher’s names ‘Ascher Calder’ (along the lower edge)
screenprint on silk
35 x 35in. (89 x 89cm.)
Executed in 1947
Brook Art Gallery Price On Application