Alexander Calder was an artist who created dynamic sculptures using wire. He gained recognition and acclaim for his wire sculptures in Paris in the late 1920s.
He once remarked that he ” Thought best in wire”.
Dancing on stage wearing a banana skirt, Josephine Baker enthralled the Paris of the 1920s and ’30s. Alexander Calder was enthralled with this shimmying dancer and Jazz icon. He crafted wire sculptures of Josephine, with spiraling wire representing her movements on stage.
One such work is “Aztec Josephine Baker” from 1930, a suspended figure that sways gently when approached.
It was one of the early wire sculptures made by Calder, the subject demanded a new medium. Josephine Baker has the most famous physique in showbiz history, her body sometimes compared to a spring, it’s only natural that an artist would try to capture her in that form, complete with spiraling breasts. Calder explained why wire was the perfect medium, “moves of its own volition . . . jokes and teases,” is “deliberately tantalizing,” and “goes off into wild scrolls and tight tendrils”—a description which could equally describe the medium or the subject of the sculpture. Calder referred to his sculptures “drawings in space,” he was affectionately known in Paris as “The King of Wire.”