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Art Investment News, 2-28: Lord of the rings
Calder at the Circus at Christie's New York's First Open

Alexander Calder (1898-1976), Untitled (Studies of Figures in Movement). Drawn in 1925. Pencil on paper, 19 1/2 x 14 in. (49.5 x 35.6 cm). Pre-sale estimate for lot of seven drawings: $30,000 - $50,000. Copyright Christie's Images Ltd. 2013.

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

FORT WORTH, TX -- Asked by the Fort Worth Weekly what advice he would give aspiring actors, Barry Corbin (Northern Exposure, The Closer, Dallas) related how the great cowboy actor Ben Johnson had once counseled him to carve out a unique niche, explaining (I paraphrase), "There may be better actors than me, but there's only one Ben Johnson." Given the relatively low prices they fetch, perhaps I still don't know anything about assessing art (Corbin does; his yard here is presided over by a bronco rider fashioned by Frederic Remington or Charlie Russell), but it seems to me there should be a premium on early work by one-of-a-kind artists, because it allows you to literally see the creator's craft developing and evolving in front of your eyes. Alexander Calder (1898 - 1976) was one of those figures. Add to this that the medium of the lot in question at Christie's New York's First Open Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art March 8 -- a set of seven charcoal, graphite, and pencil drawings of the circus made in 1925 (technically post Great War) -- allows us to behold the artist at work in an elemental form where you can almost feel his hands sketching, and the pre-sale estimate of $30,000 - $50,000 seems to be a steal.


Alexander Calder (1898-1976), Untitled (Circus Rings). Drawn in 1925. Charcoal on paper, 14 x 19 1/2 in. (35.6 x 49.5 cm). Drawn in 1925. Pre-sale estimate for lot of seven drawings: $30,000 - $50,000. Copyright Christie's Images Ltd. 2013.


Alexander Calder (1898-1976), Untitled (Monkeys). Drawn in 1925. Charcoal on paper, 14 x 19 1/2 in. (35.6 x 49.5 cm). Pre-sale estimate for lot of seven drawings: $30,000 - $50,000. Copyright Christie's Images Ltd. 2013.


Alexander Calder (1898-1976), Untitled (Ring Master's Dressing Room). Drawn in 1925. Charcoal on paper, 19 1/2 x 14 in. (49.5 x 35.6 cm). Pre-sale estimate for lot of seven drawings: $30,000 - $50,000. Copyright Christie's Images Ltd. 2013.


Alexander Calder (1898-1976), Untitled (Man Holding Ropes). Drawn in 1925. Graphite on paper, 15 x 11 1/2 in. (38.1 x 29.2 cm.). Pre-sale estimate for lot of seven drawings: $30,000 - $50,000. Copyright Christie's Images Ltd. 2013.


Untitled (Pulleys and Ropes). Drawn in 1925. Charcoal on paper, 14 x 19 1/2 in. (35.6 x 49.5 cm). Pre-sale estimate for lot of seven drawings: $30,000 - $50,000. Copyright Christie's Images Ltd. 2013.


Alexander Calder (1898-1976), Untitled. Drawn in 1925. Charcoal on paper, 14 3/4 x 19 1/2 in. (49.5 x 37.5 cm). Pre-sale estimate for lot of seven drawings: $30,000 - $50,000. Copyright Christie's Images Ltd. 2013.



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