Alexander Calder developed a passion for gouaches and works on paper early in his career, appreciating the ease at which he could manipulate the surface and experiment on a smaller scale than his mobiles and sculptures. Calder's gouaches showcase his mastery of line, solid balance of composition and eye for color.

After receiving a degree in mechanical engineering from Stevens Institute, Hoboken, New Jersey in 1919 and studying at the Art Students League in New York, Alexander Calder had his first solo exhibition of oil paintings at The Artists' Gallery in New York in 1926. As Calder began to gain fame for his paintings and sculptural work he also continued to experiment with different mediums, eventually going on to create a large variety of objects, ranging in size from monumental to minuscule. His artistic proliferation, immense talent, and willingness to push the boundaries of artistic expression have secured the international reputation that he has today.

The moving parts of Alexander Calder's kinetic sculptures decorate and energize public spaces across the world. As the painted steel plates of Gallows and Lollipops (1960) hover and seesaw around the tip of their red tripod base, they obey chance atmospheric stimuli to destabilize the grid of Beinecke Plaza, at Yale University. Developed in the 1930s, the mobile became Calder's trademark, combining influences from the avant-garde artists of prewar Paris. While his primary colors follow the purist palette of Piet Mondrian, the animated geometric shapes resemble the abstracted objects and animals in the surrealist paintings of Joan Miró and Paul Klee.