American sculptor and
draughtsman, pioneer of mobiles. Born in Philadelphia, the son and
grandson of sculptors. Studied engineering and worked at various jobs before
attending the Art Students League, New
York, to study painting 1923-6.
Began in 1926 to make small animated animals in wood and wire, which eventually
became numerous enough to form a circus. First one-man exhibition at the Weyhe
Gallery, New York, 1928. Lived 1928-33 mainly in Paris, where he became friendly with Miró and
Pascin, and joined the group Abstraction-Creation 1931.
Started to make sculptures, to which Duchamp gave the name mobiles, which could
be moved by hand or by small electric motors, followed from 1934 by pieces
which were set in motion by air currents. The name stabiles was later suggested
by Arp for his sculptures which did not move. Lived mainly in the USA, at Roxbury,
Connecticut, from 1933 until
1953, when he also bought a house at Sache (Indre-et-Loire). Awarded the main
prize for sculpture at the 1952 Venice Biennale and the First Prize for
Sculpture at the 1958 Pittsburgh International.