On View In:
Gallery 100
Artist:   Alexander Calder  
Title:   Ahab  
Date:   1953  
Medium:   Painted metal  
Dimensions:   177 x 226 in. (449.58 x 574.04 cm)  
Credit Line:   Gift of Bruce B. Dayton and Mr. and Mrs. Gerald A. Erickson, by exchange  
Location:   Gallery 100  

From childhood Alexander Calder enjoyed inventing mechanical toys and gadgets. In Paris during the 1920s and 1930s he encountered a new type of sculpture, pioneered by Picasso and the Russian Constructivists: assemblages of wood, metal, plastic, and cardboard, with space incorporated as part of the design. Calder began building similar abstract pieces in 1930 but gave them a new dimension--motion. Fellow artist Marcel Duchamp christened the moving sculptures "mobiles." One of Calder's largest mobiles, Ahab is composed of three arcs made of steel rods and irregularly shaped disks that suggest natural forms. The title refers to the maniacal sea captain who pursued the white whale in Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick (1851).

Name:   Calder, Alexander  
Nationality:   American  
Life Dates:   American, 1898 - 1976  

Object Description  
Classification:   Sculpture  
Creation Place:   North America, United States, , ,  
Accession #:   83.77  
Owner:   The Minneapolis Institute of Arts