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Alexander Calder

/Works and biography

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Silver Bed Head, winter 1946
Silver, 160 x 131 cm
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice 76.2553 PG 138
© 2014 Calder Foundation, New York / SIAE, Rome, all rights reserved. CALDER ® is a registered trademark of Calder Foundation, NY.


In 1945–46, Peggy Guggenheim commissioned Alexander Calder to make a silver bedhead. His design combines fish, insect, and plant motifs in an exuberant conflation of the worlds of sea and garden. The outer curve of a large spiral comprises the basic circular structure of the bedhead, which is elaborated with decorations of hammered and cut silver. Although these botanical forms are fixed permanently in position, their curving, twisting contours nonetheless convey a sense of perpetual natural motion. The compressed, shallow relief of this piece answers neatly the practical demands of Peggy’s commission for a bedhead. The worked surface of the hammered silver, which reflects light in countless directions, adds variety and a three-dimensional presence to each of Calder’s lines.

credits: Hangar Design Group