Expo 67: Alexander Calder's Man Sculpture


My favorite piece by Alexander Calder (1898-1976) is the monumental stainless steel sculpture that he created for Expo 67 in Montreal, known as Man (originally entitled Three Disks, Calder changed the name to Man in order to compliment the theme of the exposition). The International Nickel Company of Canada commissioned Calder in August of 1966 to create the piece.

The sculpture was fabricated under Calder's supervision at the Biemont Foundry in Tours, France, where he produced many of his large-scale works. The boilermakers who worked at the foundry, produced the final piece by scaling-up Calder's maquette of the sculpture (see actual maquette below). Upon completion of fabrication, the sculpture was broken down and packed into 12 wooden crates for shipment to Canada via boat. Unfortunately, when the sculpture was unpacked in Montréal, it was discovered that exposure to the saline air during shipment had caused brownish stains to appear on the metal. In order to remove the damage it had to be sandblasted, which gave the sculpture its matte finish that we see today. The piece was unveiled at the Expo and donated to the citizens of Montréal on May 17, 1967.

The finished "stabile" (non-kinetic) sculpture was the largest Calder had produced at that time, measuring 65' x 83' x '53. The sculpture was moved in 1991 from its original location near the Scandinavian Pavilion to Belvedere lookout on the north shore of Île Ste. Hélène.

A time capsule sealed beneath this plaque, located at the foot of Calder's Man sculpture, is to be opened by the mayor of Montreal on May 17, 2067, the 100th anniversary of its dedication.
Maquette of the Man sculpture, 1966, sheet metal and wire, 29.75" x 33.5" x 20".  Calder Foundation
Illustration of Calder's L'homme as it appeared in the Expo 67 guide book.

Photo credits listed in order of appearance; DC Hillier, DC Hillier, David Eppen, Jeff4653, Missretromodern, expo 67 site, Calder.org, Artsology, indydan, Csaba Petrik, MaZe Canadia, Mattron

3 comments:

unigami said...

Great selection of photos - really enjoyed this!

Kevin said...

Thanks for stopping by Unigami and glad you enjoyed the post!

Artsology said...

I thought that looked like my photograph!