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My finest hour that I've ever known
Alexander Calder (July 22, 1898 – November 11, 1976), also known as Sandy Calder, was an American sculptor and artist most famous for inventing the mobile. In addition to mobile and stabile sculpture, Alexander Calder also created paintings, lithographs, toys and tapestry and designed carpets. Born in Lawnton, Pennsylvania, on July 22, 1898, Calder came from a family of artists. His father, Alexander Stirling Calder, was a well-known sculptor who created many public installations, a majority of them located in Philadelphia. Calder’s grandfather, sculptor Alexander Milne Calder, was born in Scotland and immigrated to Philadelphia in 1868. Calder’s mother, Nanette Lederer Calder, was a professional portrait painter who studied at the Academie Julian and the Sorbonne in Paris from around 1888 until 1893. She then moved to Philadelphia where she met Alexander Stirling Calder while studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Calder’s parents were married on February 22, 1895. His older sister, Margaret “Peggy” Calder, was born in 1896. Her married name was Margaret Calder Hayes, and she was instrumental in the development of the UC Berkeley Art Museum. In 1902, at the age of four, Calder posed nude for his father’s sculpture The Man Cub that is now located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In that same year, he completed his earliest sculpture, a clay elephant. Three years later, when Calder was seven and his sister was nine, Stirling Calder contracted tuberculosis and Calder’s parents moved to a ranch in Oracle, Arizona, leaving the children in the care of family friends for a year. The children were reunited with their parents in late March, 1906 and stayed at the ranch in Arizona until fall of the same year. After Arizona, the Calder family moved to Pasadena, California. The windowed cellar of the family home became Calder’s first studio and he received his first set of tools. He used scraps of copper wire that he found in the streets to make jewelry and beads for his sister’s dolls. On January 1, 1907, Calder’s mother took him to the Tournament of Roses and he observed a four-horse-chariot race. This style of event later became the finale of Calder’s wire circus shows. In 1909, when Calder was in the fourth grade, he sculpted a dog and a duck out of sheet brass as Christmas gifts for his parents. The sculptures were three dimensional and the duck was kinetic because it rocked when gently tapped. These sculptures are frequently cited as early examples of Calder’s skill. In 1910, Stirling Calder’s rehabilitation was complete and the Calder family moved back to Philadelphia, where he briefly attended the Germantown Academy, and then to Croton-on-Hudson in New York. In Croton, during his early high school years, Calder was befriended by the painter Everett Shinn with whom he built a gravity powered system of mechanical trains. As Calder described: We ran the train on wooden rails held by spikes; a chunk of iron racing down the incline speeded the cars. We even lit up some cars with candle lights. After Croton, the Calders moved to Spuyten Duyvil to be closer to the Tenth Street Studio Building in New York, where Stirling Calder rented a studio. While living in Spuyten Duyvil, Calder attended Yonkers High. In 1912, Stirling Calder was appointed acting chief of the Department of Sculpture of the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. He began work on sculptures for the exposition that was held in 1915. During Alexander Calder’s high school years between 1912 and 1915, the Calder family moved back and forth between New York and California. In each new location Calder’s parents reserved cellar space as a studio for their son. Toward the end of this period, Calder stayed with friends in California while his parents moved back to New York so that he could graduate from Lowell High School in San Francisco. Calder graduated in the class of 1915. Early years Although Calder’s parents encouraged his creativity as a child, they discouraged their children from becoming artists, knowing that it was an uncertain and financially difficult career. In 1915, Calder decided to study mechanical engineering after learning about the discipline from a classmate at Lowell High School named Hyde Lewis. Stirling Calder arranged for his son's enrollment at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. During his freshman year, Calder stayed in Castle Stevens, a 40-room Victorian mansion that was originally a summer home of the Stevens family. In 1959, Castle Stevens was demolished and replaced in 1962 by the 14-story Wesley J. Howe Administration Building. It was a beautiful room in a square tower, really a wonderful room, with windows looking up and down the river and across—it was all windows. Calder joined the football team during his freshman year at Stevens and practiced with the team all four years, but he never played in a game. He also played lacrosse, at whicYou could eat off it.
How's this for 14 year old carpet, huh? When I bought the car, I was blown away by the newness of the carpet. I wanted to take a photo of it and show it off, but didn't really have a chance till now. I installed some parts this weekend (rollbar and frame rail braces) that required me to remove the seats and peel back the carpet. Before putting them back, I remembered my camera. So yeah. Not bad. In fact, pretty good. I did vacuum out all the metal shavings, but no shampooing or anything. I'm proud of Sharka's new carpet. er.... old? carpet.
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