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Suitcase filled with elements from Calder’s Circus


Alexander Calder, Suitcase filled with elements from Calder’s Circus, 1926–31. 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  83.36.65a-c
© 2009 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photograph © Whitney Museum of American Art
Alexander Calder would bring Calder’s Circus to his friends’ houses or take it along with him when he traveled. When the artist moved Calder’s Circus around, he carried it in suitcases. At first, the circus filled two suitcases. Over the years, it grew to fill five!
MORE WORK BY Alexander Calder
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Calder’s Circus: Alexander Calder unpacking a suitcasePlay
Alexander Calder unpacks one of his suitcases
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.
Alexander Calder, Suitcases from Calder’s Circus, 1926–31, installation view