Paintbrush and easel

by Dr. Lori Verderame

An Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976) maquette or small-scale model showed up in the sculptor’s native city of Philadelphia, PA during a PBS Antiques Roadshow episode in 2007.

Calder produced many maquettes throughout his career and this one supposedly was produced for a large-scale sculpture commissioned for the 1958 Brussels Worlds Fair. Calder maquettes reside in public and private collections worldwide including at Yale, Princeton, the National Gallery, the National Museum of American Art, and the Calder Foundation. Today, private collectors actively desire maquettes as they demonstrate the sculptor’s fascinating production process.

Calder values

Recent sales records for Calder’s maquettes have brought nearly $350,000. I appraised a small scale Calder example at one of my appraisal events worth $250,000. Calder, the Abstract Expressionist sculptor who is best known for his hanging mobiles and large scale public sculptures in major cities worldwide is an important artist and innovator. In the marketplace, works by Calder command very high prices.

Alexander Calder also produced large format lithograph prints based on his geometric sculptures and abstract designs. These Calder prints, some inexpensive posters and some pricey lithographs or silkscreens are very popular in the market.

Request an online appraisal of your Alexander Calder piece from Dr. Lori.