Alexander Calder Trivia

Calder photo

Take this little quiz to find out how much you know about my favorite artist!
After you are finished, scroll down to find the answers (no cheating!).

1) Most of Calder's close friends referred to him by a nickname. What was it?

a) Alex
b) Sandy
c) Mr. Mobile

2) It's generally accepted that Calder invented hanging mobiles, but he did not have a good name for his new form of abstract sculpture. What artist, after seeing Calder's work at an exhibit, coined the name "mobiles" for this new art form?

a) Pablo Picasso
b) Salvador Dali
c) Marcel Duchamp

3) Calder met his future wife Louisa, on a ship sailing from Paris to New York. Louisa was the grandniece of what famous american writer?

a) Henry James
b) Louisa May Alcott
c) Mark Twain

4) During the late 1920's before earning his fame as a mobile artist, Alexander Calder had an avant-garde cult following in Paris and New York for a special performance that he would give. What was everyone so excited about?

a) His juggling skills.
b) His enormously funny comedic re-enactment of popular Buster Keaton movies.
c) The "Cirque Calder", a circus performance that Calder would give using a miniature circus set that he created out of wire, wood, and cloth.

5) Was was one of the unusual resources that Calder used for aluminum sheet metal when it became very scarce during World War II?

a) He cut up his rowboat.
b) He collected scraps from a local aircraft manufacturer.
c) He cut up Louisa's bakeware.

6) Frank Lloyd Wright considered having a Calder mobile for the Guggenheim museum that he was designing, but it never came to pass because of a disagreement. Over what?

a) The price. Calder asked $50,000 for the piece and Frank Lloyd Wright scoffed, saying I will not spend that much for a child's toy
b) The color. Wright wanted it to be gold. Calder said, Fine, I'll make it out of gold but I'll paint it black!
c) The installation. Wright wanted the mobile to hang high in the lofts of the museum, but Calder wanted it to hang low, almost within reach.

7) Which of the following has NOT been decorated by Alexander Calder?

a) A Mercury-Redstone rocket
b) A 727 passenger jet for Braniff Airlines
c) A 1970's 3-Series BMW automobile

8) What US City is so proud of their Calder sculpture that they have adopted its image as the city logo, using it on everything from letterheads to garbage trucks?

a) Roxbury, Connecticut
b) Watertown, New York
c) Grand Rapids, Michigan

9) Was Calder a prolific artist? Which of the following numbers matches the number of pieces that some experts estimate were produced during his career:

a)  2,000
b)  8,000
c) 16,000

10) Which Calder stabile was destroyed by the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center?

a) Bent Propeller
b) Whirling Ear
c) Flying Dragon

11) Which one of these best-selling books makes reference to Calder?

a) Joy of Cooking
b) The Joy of Sex
c) The Joy Luck Club


1) B - Sandy,
2) C - Marcel Duchamp,
3) A - Henry James,
4) C - Cirque Calder,
5) A - Rowboat,
6) B - Color,
7) A - Rocket,
8) C - Grand Rapids,
9) C - 16,000,
10) A - Bent Propeller
11) Click here to find out!

Do you have an interesting piece of trivia about Alexander Calder? Email me!