Alexander Calder Barrette


Just after the Allies won the Second World War, John and Ruth Boland acquired this Alexander Calder brooch/barette at the Paris Exhibition in Washington, DC. The year was 1944. Calder started making jewelry in the 1940’s, and of course hair ornaments were included. The inventiveness of these small pieces later influenced his larger works. This brooch/barrette sold in 2006 for $192,000 at Sothebys.

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7 Comments

  1. Just fyi: Calder actually started making jewelry for his sister’s dolls when he was around 8 yrs old. He made many pieces of jewelry for family and friends and hundreds of pieces for his wife Louisa long before the 1940s, although the 40s was probably his most prolific years. He never made his jewelry for mass production, and they are all one of a kind. He did sell his jewelry during the war years at trunk shows and in galleries. Pieces could be bought anywhere from around $15 -$150. While this was considered a good sum of money at that time, I’m sure no one could have predictied the prices his exquiste jewelry commands today.

    1. I agree. I heard about the hammered metal wedding ring he made for his wife Louisa. I’d love to find a picture of it. It’s amazing he did these pieces, while art deco was going strong. They command the value they do, just like a Lalique or Tiffany hand-made piece because these artists led the world to think about art in a completely different way. They were visionaries. I did this blog on ebay for 4 years, but ebay is getting rid of its blogs at the end of the month, so I moved here. But my point in doing it is that sure, they made rings, pendants, earrings, necklaces, etc. But they also made hair combs. In their eyes, hair combs were equal to other forms of jewelry. Today, I don’t think many people realize this.

  2. Forgot to mention two things:

    According to the Calder Jewelry Exhibition and catalog, this brooch is called the “Victory” brooch (victory WW II)

    I can send you a pic of the wedding ring Calder made for Louisa but don’t know how to send it to you. Let me know.

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