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Calder

by Matter


Calder by Matter

Mark Rosenthal The Menil Collection Distributed by Yale University Press,


S

ome of the most vivid photographs of Alexander Calder were those taken by Swiss Graphic Designer Herbert Matter (1907-1984), who for

many years was one of Calder’s closest friends. Matter pursued photography in the late twenties and early thirties in Paris, while studying painting at the Académie Moderne under Fernand Léger and Amédée Ozenfant. Inspired by Man Ray and El Lissitzky, he master the experimental photographic techniques of photogram, collage, and montage. In 1929 he was hired by the legendary type foundry Deberny et Peignot as a photographer and designer, and worked with the designer A.M. Cassandre and architect Le Corbusier.

After moving to Zurich in 1932, Matter applied his

extensive education in photomontage and typography to advertisements for the Swiss National Tourist Office, which established his international reputation as an expert graphic designer. In 1936 he emigrated to the United States, and over the course of five decades he worked as head of Knoll, Inc., a professor at Yale University (where he taught photography and design for some thirty years), and a design consultant for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

After settling in New York, Matter photographed Calder

frequently in intimate settings, namely his Roxbury and New York studios. By incorporating theatrical elements

Calder in his Roxbury studio, 1936


The Spider and Sphere Pierced by Cylinders,

New York Studio, winter 1936

Four Leaves and Three Pedals, New York Studio, 1936


Calder at work on Tightrope, New York studio, winter 1936


Calder at work on Tightrope, New York studio, winter 1936


Interior of studio showing Apple Monster, Black Beast (maquette), Untitled, and Un effet du japonais, Roxbury, 1941


Calder with Giraffe, Roxbury, ca. 1941


Frame for Snake and Cross in an early configuration, New York Studio, winter 1936


Calder with Pierre Matisse with wire figure from Tightrope, and White Panel, New York studio storefront studio, 1936


Two Acrobats, Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, 1940

Interior of studio showing Apple Monster, Black Beast (maquette), Untitled, and Un effet du japonais, Roxbury, 1941

Calder assembling Nine Discs, Roxbury, Connecticut,


Calder with White Panel and Devil Fish, before completion. New York City storefront studio, winter 1936


Published on the occasion of the exhibition The Surreal Calder Organized by the Menil Collection Curated by Mark Rosenthal

At the Menil Collection, The Surreal Calder is generously supported in part by the Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation, Anita and Mike Stude, and Mrs. Nancy C. Allen, with additional support from The Cullen Foundation, Fayez Sarofin & Co., George and Josephine Hamman Foundation, Houston Endowment, Inc., The Wortham Foundation, and the City of Houston.

Book Designer: Monique Taylor Editor: Lucy Flint Published by the Menil Foundation, Inc. Š 2005 by Menil Foundation, Inc. 1511 Brtanard, Houston, Texas 77006

Cover: Devil Fish, Tightrope, and White Panel, New York Studio, winter 1936 Frontispiece: Calder (background) showing Devil Fish, Tightrope, and White Panel to an unidentified visitor (foreground, left), New York Studio, winter 1936 Verso: New York Studio, winter 1936

ISBN 0-939594-60-9 (The Menil Collection) ISBN 0-300-11436-2 (Yale University Press) Library of Congress Control number: 2005931146



Calder