Alexander Calder

Lawnton, Pennsylvania, USA, 1898 - New York, USA, 1976
  • Date: 
  • Material: 
    Wire, paint, rope and metal sheet
  • Technique: 
    Assemblage and polychromy
  • Dimensions: 
    137,2 x 106,7 x 38,1 cm
  • Category: 
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 

The piece is named after Ritou (Renée) Nitzschke, the friend to whom Alexander Calder dedicated it. It is one of the first examples of a hanging mobile made in painted sheet metal, representing a turning point in the definition of his abstract language. While some earlier works in painted sheet metal had retained the frame as a reference point, Ritou appears as a work that is completely free of it, liberated from any connection to the wall, thereby becoming a key point in Calder’s process of altering age-old principles of sculpture, moving away from stillness towards movement, turning its traditional position in space around. The suspended mobile shapes are lightweight, and the visual effect they produce comes from the combination of planes of colour and movement.  The chromatism is influenced by Piet Mondrian’s use of the primary colours black, red and yellow, while the nature-based shapes are linked to the language of Joan Miró, who remained in close contact with Calder from their first meeting in Paris in 1928. The piece is clearly marked by the work Calder did on set designs for Erik Satie and Martha Graham at the same time, in its plastic sensitivity, somewhat akin to dance and music. Towards 1949 Calder produced a version of the work under the title New Ritou

Carmen Fernández Aparicio