Holiday park sculpture by artist Calder on sale in Paris

Paris (AFP) –


A huge sculpture by American artist Alexander Calder will be auctioned this week in Paris after spending over 50 years at a holiday park in southern France, the auction house said on Monday.

The influential sculptor is known primarily for his colourful and abstract mobiles, of which he made thousands over the course of his career.

But he also made "stabiles" -- the opposite of mobiles -- one of which has remained concealed from the general public in La Colle-sur-Loup village, a few dozen kilometres from the ritzy city Cannes. Until now.

The black steel 3,5 metre (11 foot) structure, which will go under the hammer at the auction house Artcurial on Wednesday, was made by Calder in 1963.

It was installed six years later in front of a holiday park which aims to attract low-income families by maintaining affordable prices.

The free-standing stabile is being sold by the current owner of the holiday park Belambra Clubs and is estimated to be worth between 2.5 and 3.5 million euros ($2.8-4.0 million).

"It's the first time that a major monumental stabile by Calder will be on auction in France," said Hugues Sebilleau, the director of the modern art department at auction house Artcurial.

"The stabile is completely characteristic of Calder's style at the time. The structure is very assertive and well planted on its four bearing points," said sales expert Serge Lemoine.

"Rhythm and space are the vital compositions. The curves respond to the angles and the surfaces respond to the voids," Lemoine said.

The stabile is on show in the entry of the Artcurial building on the famous Champs Elysees avenue in Paris until its sale on Wednesday.

Trained as an engineer, Calder used a wide variety of media to make more than 22,000 works before he died in 1976.