farmhouse home of artist Alexander Calder

I love Calder.  Last year I saw an exhibition of his paintings at the Gagosian, London and this summer I was lucky enough to see his circus wire sculptures at Tate Modern.  I loved it so much I went round twice!  I’m a huge fan of anything to do with the circus and my own home is filled with my trapeze sculptures, which left me wondering about Calder’s home.  His mobiles are mostly photographed in minimal spaces, yet I couldn’t believe that someone who made the circus works could possibly live somewhere without clutter.  Especially as he is so often photographed with a ciggie hanging out the corner of his mouth and wild hair.  As you can see from the above picture, I wasn’t disappointed…

 

om pom alexander calder house 18

 

om-pom-calder-with-wire-sculpture

 

Calder’s childhood homes were also creative.  Born in 1898 in Philadelphia, Calder’s father was a sculptor and his mother a painter.  They moved frequently, first to Arizona, then to Pasadena, California and then to New York, but constantly returning to California.  By the time he was a teenager Calder was sculpting and wherever they were, his parents set aside the cellar for his studio.  Calder eventually studied art in New York, but like his parents, he had itchy feet.  He moved to Paris where he met his wife, Louisa James whom he married in 1931.

This is Calder and Louisa’s house in Touraine, France in 1953…

 

om-pom-calders-home-france-1953

 

But Calder was keen to move again and in the same year, 1953, Calder, Louisa and their two small children returned to America and settled in Roxbury, Connecticut.

This is their home there, an old farmhouse that Calder painted black.

 

om pom alexander calder house Roxbury_House_Calder

 

om pom alexander calder house 27

 

om pom alexander calder house 26

 

Even with a young family Calder retained his travel bug and with Louisa and the kids in tow he lived and worked in France, India, Lebanon, London and New York.  In 1962 he built a large studio in Sache in France and continued to divide his time between there and Roxbury.

Here’s his wonderful Roxbury home…

 

om pom alexander calder house 1

 

om pom alexander calder house 7

 

I especially love his kitchen with his handmade wire utensils!

 

om pom alexander calder house 10

 

om pom alexander calder house 20

 

om pom alexander calder house 12

 

om pom alexander calder house 14

 

om pom alexander calder house 1966

 

om pom alexander calder house 8

 

Note the rug in the picture above.  It was woven by Louisa.

And Calder’s painting in his bedroom below is just wonderful.  I love it.

 

om pom alexander calder house 15

 

om pom alexander calder house 17

 

om pom alexander calder house 16

 

And here’s Calder’s amazing workshop…

 

om pom alexander calder house 25

 

om pom alexander calder house 30

 

om pom alexander calder house 4

 

om pom alexander calder house 6

 

om pom alexander calder house 21

 

This is what the house looks like today…

 

om pom alexander calder house and studio conneticut

 

om-bom-book-shop-calder-at-home

I have been asked by a reader whether there is a book available on Calder’s home, and yes there is! It’s called Calder at Home. I have made a link to it on Amazon, just click on this image.

 

Calder died in New York in 1976, but is buried in Roxbury.

I’ll leave you with him full of life, in a performance with one of his many creations…

words: CAND JUSKUS

images: various online sources