Calder was born in Lawnton, Pennsylvania (now
part of Philadelphia) in 1898, Alexander Calder
came from a family of famous artists. A third-generation
sculptor, his revolutionary "mobile" and "stabile"
works ranged from matchbox-sized miniatures
to seven-story wonders. Though demonstrating
prodigious artistic ability as a child, a pursuit
encouraged by his parents, he elected to study
engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology
in Hoboken, New Jersey.
He graduated in 1919 with a degree in mechanical
engineering. After a series of jobs, Calder
decided to study art. As a freelance artist
for the National Police Gazette in 1925 he spent
two weeks sketching at the circus; his fascination
with the subject dates from this time. He also
made his first sculpture in 1925; the following
year he made several constructions of animals
and figures with wire and wood. Calderís first
exhibition of paintings took place in 1926 at
the Artistís Gallery in New York.