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Alexander Calder (American, 1898–1976)
LOT ID: 77878
Blue Sun from CONSPIRACY: The Artist as Witness , 1971

24 х 18 in. (60.96 x 45.72 cm.)
Signed, stamped, hand signed and numbered 23/150 by Alexander Calder
bears printers distinctive blindstamp (recto)
verso bears copyright stamp of Alexander Calder
Print/Casting Year 1971
Edition 150
Foundry/Publisher Published by: The Center for Constitutional Rights, David Godine, 1972, Printed by: Shorewood Bank Street Atelier, New York
Lot description
Calder's "Blue Sun" is a magnificent six color lithograph on watermarked Arches paper from one of the most desirable and influential eras, the early Seventies. It was proofed by hand by Calder and pulled by machine from zinc plates at the Shorewood Bank Street Atelier in New York.

This stunning work was created for the legendary portfolio "CONSPIRACY: the Artist as Witness", published by the Center for Constitutional Rights, to raise money for the legal defense of the Chicago 7, a group of Yippies, radicals and anti-Vietnam War activists indicted by President Nixon's Attorney General John Mitchell for conspiring to riot during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. (1968 was also the year Bobby Kennedy was killed and American casualties in Vietnam exceeded 30,000.) The eight demonstrators included Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale. (Bobby Seale was severed from the case and sentenced to four years for contempt after being handcuffed, shackled to a chair and gagged - hence the "Chicago 7".) Although Abbie Hoffman would later point out that these (now famous) radicals couldn't even agree on lunch, the jury convicted them of conspiracy with one female juror declaring the defendants "should be convicted for their appearance, their language and their lifestyle," and another expressing the view that the demonstrators "should have been shot down by the police." All of the convictions, contempt citations and lengthy jail sentences were ultimately overturned by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Alexander Calder's hand signed and numbered "Blue Sun" has impeccable provenance: it comes directly from the original Portfolio: Conspiracy The Artist as Witness (23/150) which featured works by Jack Beal, Romare Bearden Leon Golub-Nancy Spero, Sol Lewitt, Robert Morris, Claes Oldenburg, Larry Poons, Bridget Riley, Peter Saul, Raphael Soyer and Frank Stella. It was housed in an elegant cloth case, accompanied by a colophon page and excerpts from the trial itself by the defendants as well as their attorneys William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass.

This is the first time since 1971 that this iconic lithograph has been removed from the original portfolio case and offered for sale. It is in fine condition, a superb, bright impression, never framed. It has desirable deckled edges, so it would look terrific when floated and framed.

Alexander Calder, who scarcely needs any introduction, is synonymous with twentieth century abstract art and is one of the most celebrated American sculptors of the 20th century. In 1952, Calder represented the United States at the Venice Biennale and was awarded the main prize for sculpture. He invented the mobile form by suspending objects in space in the 1930's. Although Calder was best known for his mobiles, he was also also an accomplished print maker.

Although Calder was living in Sache, France during the late Sixties and early Seventies, the powerful metaphor evoked by the imagery in "Blue Sun" is a fitting contribution to this historic artists' portfolio for social justice in America.

For fans of Calder, and collectors of Art of the Sixties - and especially protest art, and for those who still believe in social justice, this iconic print symbolizes a piece of American history!

This is an uncommon opportunity to acquire Calder's lithograph "Blue Sun" in fine condition with superb provenance, as so many other prints from this edition are already off the market and in the permanent collections of major museums and educational institutions worldwide.

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Blue Sun from CONSPIRACY: The Artist as Witness by Alexander Calder
  • Blue Sun from CONSPIRACY: The Artist as Witness by Alexander Calder
  • Blue Sun from CONSPIRACY: The Artist as Witness by Alexander Calder
  • Blue Sun from CONSPIRACY: The Artist as Witness by Alexander Calder
  • Blue Sun from CONSPIRACY: The Artist as Witness by Alexander Calder
  • Blue Sun from CONSPIRACY: The Artist as Witness by Alexander Calder
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