Calder Jewelry

Brooch, Alexander Calder, 1958
Recently I was surfing the Internet and stumbled upon photographs from an exhibition of Alexander Calder's jewelry at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 2009.

Wow, first I didn't even know that the American sculptor Alexander Calder made jewelry and then the other shocker is he designed approximately 1800 pieces of body adornment in his lifetime using brass, silver, gold, and found objects.

Bracelet, Alexander Calder, 1940
These two pieces were my favorites from the photographs displayed on the Metropolitan Museum's web site, but I'm guessing the exhibition catalog must be a treasure. I've been reading up on ancient goddess symbols and the brooch reminded me of snake patterns carved into stone and the swirls on the bracelets look just like ram horns that were extremely sacred to the worship of female deities.

Did anyone get a chance to see this exhibition in person or obtain a catalog? I'd love to hear your reaction to this body of work.


  1. There is a book that I got from the School of Art library all about Calder's jewelry and it's AMAZING. Talk about inspiration, holy crow! You should try to see a copy of it, you won't regret it. I did not get to see the exhibit but I bet the show was phenomenal.

  2. here is the book....

  3. i hadn't even heard of this! and i could have gone had i known... wow! what a treasure this book would be - i just did a quick search and even used ones are at $250+... will keep looking and let you know - i love his visions... thank you beth!

  4. I didn't know that either.. Always thought of him first as a painter, sculptor... That top piece is stunning!.

  5. The exhibit was wonderful. Maybe it will come around again .
    The catalog is wonderful. I love his work.

  6. Oh, I love Calder's jewelry! I have only seen a few things, but to see an exhibition would be divine! There is a quite big coffee table book out there called Calder Jewelry. It looks stunning, but it is over $100 and that is a bit pricey for me! I am hoping someday to snag a copy to be inspired by the innovative designs.
    Enjoy the day!

  7. Unfortunately I didn't see the exhibit, but people I know who did said it was wonderful. I was able to get the book - it's beautiful - a must have and Calder's work has inspired some of my wire making.
    The Grand Rapids Art Museum (Michigan) may still copies - I think I paid $55.00 last year. It's totally worth it.

  8. Calder jewelry?! This is new to me. That brooch alone makes me want to buy the catalog! Thanks for the information!

  9. Something must be in the air! Because we've been pouring over the Calder book and have been making lots of beautiful pieces. The catalogue is pricey... but is truly amazing. Another great book is the Jewels of Fantasy book. Another pricey book, but a great reference.

  10. So glad to hear all these wonderful things. Sandi, both you and Erin convinced me to purchase a copy through the Grand Rapids Art Museum for $50 http://www.gramstore.org/calder-jewelry-soft-cover.html

    Andrew, what fun that I dipped into that same current, can't wait to see how you've been inspired by Calder!

    Lorelei, why am I not surprised you were already on top of this great book! Thanks for sharing your info and the link. I can't wait to see this book for myself :)

  11. Beth,
    I'm so glad that the Museum still has copies. You'll enjoy the beautiful story, too.

  12. I saw the show when it came to SAM...amazing doesn't cover the scope of this man's work not just in paint, sculpture and jewelry. Get the catalog...it is worth the $ a thousand times over.


  13. Hi Beth - haven't popped over in a while, so it's nice to catch up with what you're up to. And oh man, I saw the Calder exhibit while visiting family in FL. It was the last day of the exhibit, they had one book left and I decided it was a bit much for carry-on luggage and I thought, "oh, I'll get one later". Nice to see the link for the Grand Rapids Museum - will definitely check it out. best - Kathy VK

  14. Hi Kathy, I just received my book from the Grands Rapids Art Museum and LOVE it! Hope you get one too. What fun that you were able to see this exhibit in person :)

  15. Hi Beth,
    I just came across your post. I was able to go to the exhibit in West Palm Beach. It was knock you over, amazing, beautiful ~ wonderful.
    I did purchase the book and admire Calder's work very much!
    Ps...also loved your post about giving and receiving.
    xo, Laura


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