Calder and Prouvé met in the early 1950s. They corresponded regularly between Calder’s frequent trips to Paris, exchanging ideas on architecture and sculpture. In 1958, Calder collaborated with Prouvé to construct the steel base of La Spirale, a monumental mobile for the UNESCO site in Paris. Calder later gave Prouvé two mobiles—as well as a gouache with a dedication.
Installed in the lofty spaces of Gagosian Le Bourget, evokes comparisons in the broad, expressive range of production using new technologies that the close friends and collaborators evinced in their parallel practices as artist and designer. Calder’s mobiles—Rouge triomphant (1963), Pods and Shoots (1966), and Les trois barres (1970)—are perfect studies of abstract kinetic form and color, while Stabile (1975), an imposing sculpture made of bolted sheet metal, demonstrates a mastery of gravitational principles with its weighty steel arcs borne miraculously by just a few points of contact with the ground. Prouvé’s strong, distinctive lines are visible in furniture and architectural projects, including Pavillon démontable (1944), Potence (1950), Table Flavigny n° 504 (1951), Brise-soleil en aluminium (1957), and Station essence Total (1969), while the playful geometry and bright turquoise of Chaise Métropole n°305 (1953) echo Calder’s more whimsical sensibilities. Considered together, these works testify to the fruitful exchange between two giants of Modernism in its most utopian aspirations.