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Fanni, the Belly Dancer, from Calder’s Circus

1926–31

Alexander Calder, Fanni, the Belly Dancer, from Calder’s Circus, 1926–31. Wire, cloth, rhinestones, paint, thread, wood, and paper, 11 1/2 × 6 × 10 1/2 in. (29.2 × 15.2 × 26.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from a public fundraising campaign in May 1982. One half the funds were contributed by the Robert Wood Johnson Jr. Charitable Trust. Additional major donations were given by The Lauder Foundation, the Robert Lehman Foundation Inc., the Howard and Jean Lipman Foundation Inc., an anonymous donor, The T. M. Evans Foundation Inc., MacAndrews & Forbes Group Incorporated, the DeWitt Wallace Fund Inc., Martin and Agneta Gruss, Anne Phillips, Mr. and Mrs. Laurance S. Rockefeller, the Simon Foundation Inc., Marylou Whitney, Bankers Trust Company, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth N. Dayton, Joel and Anne Ehrenkranz, Irvin and Kenneth Feld, Flora Whitney Miller. More than 500 individuals from 26 states and abroad also contributed to the campaign  83.36.24a-d
© 2009 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photograph © Whitney Museum of American Art
Fanni, the Belly Dancer is made of flesh-colored fabric stretched over a wire armature. She has hand-stitched eyes of brown thread. Her skirt is made of red fringe, and her bustier and belt are studded with rhinestones. She stands on a red-painted cigar box topped with red felt and trimmed with gold fringe. When a crank on the side of the box is turned, her hips twist in a belly dance.
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Fanni, the Belly Dancer from Calder’s CircusPlay
Fanni, the Belly Dancer
Excerpt from Le Grand Cirque Calder 1927 (1955). 16mm, color, sound (French); 45 min. Directed by Jean Painlevé with Geneviève Hamon, assistant; cinematography by Claude Beausoleil; sound direction by Freddy Baume. Le Grand Cirque Calder 1927 is in the archives of Les Documents Cinématographiques, Paris, under the directorship of Brigitte Berg.
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