The American sculptor Alexander Calder was born in Lawton, Pennsylvania, in 1898. After completing his engineering studies he attended the Art Students League in New York, where one of his teachers was John Sloan. At this time he created his first figures out of wire and wood. In 1927 he presented the performance Cirque Calder, which he then developed further in the following years. He exhibited his work that same year in Paris and in 1929 in Berlin. A short time later he visited Piet Mondrian in his atelier and under his influence from that time on worked on the abstract constructions that Marcel Duchamp would later call mobiles: balanced constructions of metal sheets in organic shapes, attached to each other with wires and hinges in such a way that they can be set in motion at the slightest touch. In 1952 Calder won the Grand Prize for Sculpture at the 26th Venice Biennale. In the following years he produced monumental mobiles for La Défense and the Pompidou in Paris, and for John F. Kennedy Airport, New York. Calder died in New York in 1976.