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Calder found he enjoyed working with wire for his circus.He soon began to sculpt from this material many portraits of his friends and public figures of the day.Every piece was small enough to be packed into a large trunk, enabling the artist to carry it with him and hold performances anywhere.Its first performance was held in Paris for an audience of friends and peers, and soon Calder was presenting the circus in both Paris and New York to much success.The circus became a lifelong interest of Calder's, and after moving to Paris in 1926, he created his , a complex and unique body of art.The assemblage included diminutive performers, animals, and props he had observed at the Ringling Bros. Fashioned from wire, leather, cloth, and other found materials, was designed to be manipulated manually by Calder.
and Barnum & Bailey Circus to sketch circus scenes for two weeks in 1925.Calder's renderings of his circus often lasted about two hours and were quite elaborate.Indeed, the predated performance art by forty years.He met Louisa James (a grandniece of writer Henry James) on one of these steamer journeys and the two were married in January 1931.He also became friendly with many prominent artists and intellectuals of the early twentieth century at this time, including Joan Miró, Fernand Léger, James Johnson Sweeney, and Marcel Duchamp. I always thought I was born—at least my mother always told me so—on August 22, 1898.
Despite his talents, Calder did not originally set out to become an artist.