Alexander Calder, ‘Sky Swirl’, 1974, Christopher-Clark Fine Art

In 1972, Dallas based Braniff International Airways commissioned Alexander Calder to paint a full-size Douglas DC-8-62 airliner as a "flying canvas." Models of the aircraft were sent to Calder at his studio in France in November of 1972, and work commenced. Braniff announced the Calder collaboration to the public on June 4, 1973. This was to be the first time that an artist had ever painted a jetliner used in regular airline service. Painting began at the carrier's Dallas Love Field Operations and Maintenance Base. Calder supervised the painting of the aircraft at the Braniff Base, and personally painted the two left side engine nacelles with two of his designs called "Beastie" and "Sunburst". While at the hangar Calder befriended many of the Braniff Maintenance and Engineering personnel and even painted his unique designs on their lunch pails and toolboxes. At the time, some of the employees did not like the designs but quickly changed their mind once they realized they became owner's of their own Calder masterpieces. This lithograph is one from a set of six comprising The Flying Colors Collection commemorating this historic project which created a piece of artwork that was seen by more people than have looked at any other single work of art in the 20th century.

Signature: Signed with the artist’s monogram and dated on the stone lower right CA 74.

Publisher: Atelier Fernand Mourlot, Paris

About Alexander Calder

American artist Alexander Calder changed the course of modern art by developing an innovative method of sculpting, bending, and twisting wire to create three-dimensional “drawings in space.” Resonating with the Futurists and Constructivists, as well as the language of early nonobjective painting, Calder’s mobiles (a term coined by Marcel Duchamp in 1931 to describe his work) consist of abstract shapes made of industrial materials––often poetic and gracefully formed and at times boldly colored––that hang in an uncanny, perfect balance. His complex assemblage Cirque Calder (1926–31), which allowed for the artist’s manipulation of its various characters presented before an audience, predated Performance Art by some 40 years. Later in his career, Calder devoted himself to making outdoor monumental sculptures in bolted sheet steel that continue to grace public plazas in cities throughout the world.

American, 1898-1976, Lawnton, Pennsylvania