Alexander Calder, ‘Take Off for the Sun - With Flying Colors ’, 1976, Alpha 137 Gallery
Alexander Calder, ‘Take Off for the Sun - With Flying Colors ’, 1976, Alpha 137 Gallery
Alexander Calder, ‘Take Off for the Sun - With Flying Colors ’, 1976, Alpha 137 Gallery
Alexander Calder, ‘Take Off for the Sun - With Flying Colors ’, 1976, Alpha 137 Gallery

This is a rare, limited edition very special piece of art historical ephemera as this promotional print and flyer was distributed by Braniff Airways exclusively to travel agents.

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.

Calder and Braniff, in collaboration with the French printer Mourlot published "The Flying Colors Collection" of lithographs commemorating this historic project which created a piece of artwork that, at the time, was perhaps seen by more people than have looked at any other single work of art in the 20th century. Those lithographs were sold to the general public and can be found on the secondary market today. However, separate from that, Braniff Airways and Calder also created this promotional sleeve- featuring a limited edition Calder print on the cover, and text inside promoting Braniff's vacation destinations. An excerpt from the text description, which begins with biographical information on Calder, and describes the gouache the artist made for the airline, reads in part:
..."Braniff International reproduced this gouache in a limited edition lithograph printed on fine text paper for presentation by leading travel agencies. May it give you pleasure and may it remind you often that it is time to "Take Off for the Sun" - with Flying Colors.

This limited edition plate signed lithograph in promotional sleeves is especially rare and historic as it was distributed exclusively to travel agents and not available for mass consumption like the other prints. Braniff International would go on to declare bankruptcy in 1982 - a mere six years after this spectacular promotional campaign.

Highly collectible piece of art historical ephemera...a lovely frameable print (it's unframed now) - and a great conversation piece. In very good vintage condition.

Signature: plate signed

Publisher: Fernand Mourlot, Paris France in collaborations with Braniff International Airways, Dallas, Texas

Braniff International Airways

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