A brass necklace by the iconic 20th century sculptor Alexander Calder, bought at a flea market for $15 eight years ago by a self-proclaimed “flea market junkie” may fetch up to $300,000 when it goes under the hammer at Christies.
It was discovered at the well picked over Brooklyn Flea market and pulled from a cardboard box filled with electrical goods and vintage clothing. A few years later the woman spotted another similar necklace on the cover of Philadelphia Weekly, promoting the Philadelphia Art Museum’s exhibition, “Calder Jewellery.” A friend told her to contact a specialist at Christie’s. She was later put in touch with Elisabeth Agro, the Associate Curator of American Modern and Contemporary Crafts and Decorative Arts, who had organized the 2008 exhibition. Ms Agro was convinced of its authenticity persuaded her to take it to the Calder Foundation who confirmed its status as genuine.
Alexander Calder (1898 – 1976), whose illustrious career spanned much of the 20th century, is the most acclaimed and influential sculptor of our time. Born in a family of celebrated, though more classically trained artists, Calder utilized his innovative genius to profoundly change the course of modern art. He began by developing a new method of sculpting: by bending and twisting wire, he essentially “drew” three-dimensional figures in space. He is renowned for the invention of the mobile, whose suspended, abstract elements move and balance in changing harmony. Calder devoted much of his later working years to commissions of public art.
The necklace will now be offered in the First Open Sale of Post War and Contemporary Art at Christie’s, taking place September 26.