1958 Alexander Calder Maquette
Appraised Value: $50,000 - $75,000
IMAGE: 1 of 4
Appraisal Video: ()
Metalwork & Sculpture
Lillian Nassau, LLC
APPRAISER: You've brought in this model or "maquette," for a sculpture by Alexander Calder. How did you come to own this?
GUEST: My father was in possession of it for many years. He was in a metal fabricating shop in Watertown, Connecticut, near where Alexander Calder lived. And Alexander Calder brought this into the shop and said, "Can you make this? I've been commissioned by the U.S. government to do something for the Brussels World's Fair in 1958." So they said yep, and the full-size stands about 22 foot tall. I can remember standing next to the actual thing in the shop before it was shipped over. And pretty much it was dismantled after the Brussels World's Fair and stored in a museum basement somewhere. And only in the last, I think, seven years has it been brought out and put on display again in Brussels.
APPRAISER: Well, Alexander Calder is a very, very famous 20th-century American sculptor. His father was a sculptor and was born in Philadelphia as was Calder himself. His father had an academic background-- traditional French training. Calder went to Stevens Institute of Technology so he had a more scientific background. And you brought in the photograph of it at the World's Fair. I don't know if it was before or after the World's Fair, but there were water fountains all around it. And then you brought in this article that shows the piece. Here it is before it was painted. So it's hammered out of aluminum and then painted black. Calder was famous for making what we call stabiles, but also he's the inventor of the mobile. This piece was meant to revolve-- there was a motor in it. It revolved once a minute like that. It's on a carved wood base. His work is very, very desirable, very, very collectible. One of the things, though, they're easy to fake. These are cut with tin snips out of sheet metal.
APPRAISER: And they're painted with household paints.
APPRAISER: So even though you do have this impeccable provenance, in fact, this article mentions the maquette, I would encourage you to contact the Calder Foundation and they would give you a letter of authenticity. I think a conservative auction estimate at this time would probably be in the $50,000 to $75,000 range.
GUEST: Really? Oh, my. Oh, my! Even though it's not signed?
APPRAISER: Even though it's not signed.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.