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Black Dots

A work made of sheet steel, string, and paint.
© 2018 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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  • A work made of sheet steel, string, and paint.




Alexander Calder
American, 1898–1976

About this artwork

Alexander Calder arrived in Paris in 1926 and soon forged an inventive new artistic path with caricature wire portraits and animals; he even produced a full circus environment in which he also performed. In the early 1930s, Calder began to make unconventional sculptures from flat pieces of steel, which he cut into biomorphic forms reminiscent of the work of his friends Joan Miró and Jean Arp. He bent, welded, and painted the steel pieces, assembling them into fixed (“stabile”) or moving (“mobile”) constructions, like Black Dots. These revolutionary works, presented without a traditional pedestal and often suspended from above, allowed Calder to explore the organic nature of artistic form as it continually shifted and evolved in the environment in which it was installed.


Currently Off View


Contemporary Art


Alexander Calder


Black Dots


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Sheet steel, string, and paint


78.7 × 88.9 × 38.1 cm (31 × 35 × 15 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Gilbert W. Chapman

Reference Number



© 2018 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Extended information about this artwork

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