WHY: “Without question the authoritative source on the man whom the French called le roi du fil de fer — ‘the wire king.’”
–PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, a starred review
“Not only an essential record of the first 40 years of Calder’s life, but an exceptional chronicle of the genesis of modernism.”
–KIRKUS, a starred review
“Dynamic and illuminating…as buoyant and evocative as Calder’s sculptures.
“Art critic Perl joins the select ranks of multivolume arts biographers, among them Hilary Spurling on Matisse and John Richardson on Picasso, with the first in a foundational two-book inquiry into the unusually sunny life and exuberantly radical work of sculptor Alexander Calder.
“The grandson, nephew, and son of artists, Calder tried to thwart his destiny by studying engineering, a fortunate detour, given the technical finesse of his future constructions. Perl incisively portrays Calder’s impressive and intriguing family while tracking the bohemian, coast-to-coast upbringing of this precocious ‘smiling Buddha’ of a boy, marking the genesis of his signature ‘playful ingenuity’ in his youthful passions for birds and animals, toys, tools, and tinkering, skating, dancing, puns, math, science, and theater.
“Starting out in New York as a magazine and newspaper illustrator, Calder developed his command of line and caricature, a perfect vehicle for his ‘sardonic, ironic, and comic spirit.’ In 1920s Paris, this perpetual experimentalist created a remarkably vital miniature circus and powerfully expressive calligraphic wire works, then catalyzed a ‘kinetic revolution,’ creating sculptures-in-motion that inspired Marcel Duchamp to coin the word ‘mobile’ to describe them.
“Graced with 350 photographs, Perl’s dynamic and illuminating biography, as buoyant and evocative as Calder’s sculptures, concludes with the ebullient and cosmic artist poised for ever more creative adventures and renown.”
–Donna Seaman, in a starred review for BOOKLIST