It’s no secret that we love color at Optima, and we carefully curate our interior furniture, textures and designs to reflect the vibrancy of our spaces. Our curated artwork is no exception, and throughout the halls of projects such as Optima Signature, Alexander Calder’s bright works greet residents with bold tones and distinct shape. A multimedia artist whose influence spans across decades, Calder’s work creates a meaningful connection to a rich piece of art history.

Calder’s Past

Born in Pennsylvania in 1898, Calder came from a family of artists; his grandfather and father both had rich careers as sculptors and his mother was a professional portrait artist. Though his family had artistic roots, they supposedly did not want him to follow in their footsteps. Calder began studying mechanical engineering in New Jersey, bouncing between jobs all while still being inspired by create. By the 1920s, Calder had moved back to New York to pursue a career as an artist. 

Calder’s Artistic Career

After studying in New York, Calder moved to Paris where he studied, established a studio and met his future wife. While living in Paris, Calder joined the ever-growing network of avant-garde artists, including Fernand Léger, Jean Arp and Marcel Duchamp. Throughout his life, Calder maintained a strong connection to France, naming many of his works in French regardless of their location. After a lifetime of impactful creativity and exploration, Calder died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1976, leaving behind an expansive and far-reaching legacy. 

Calder’s Legacy

Over his career, Calder produced a wide range of work, spanning from sculpture, to stage sets, paintings, prints and jewelry. Like previous generations of Calders, he was also a recognized large-scale sculptor. Flamingo, one of his more notable works in Chicago, adorns the Federal Plaza with beautiful form and the famous “Calder Red” color. We’re thrilled and honored to have the works of Alexander Calder throughout our buildings, and hope they bring a bright source of inspiration to those who view and enjoy them.