Alexander Calder


In 1948, on the occasion of his wife’s 43rd birthday, Alexander Calder presented Louisa with a cigar box outfitted with five compartments, each cradling a tiny mobile constructed from sheet metal, wire and paint. This intimately scaled gift is included in an exuberant show at Dominique Lévy titled “Multum in Parvo,” meaning “much in little.” Arrayed on two floors in a sleek townhouse are over 40 examples of compact Calders, spanning the years 1935 to 1970. Made mainly as presents or studies for larger pieces, these mini-me mobiles (one constructed from a spoon), often displayed at eye-level, prove that Calder’s compositions succeed big or small—not a surprise in light of the Metropolitan Museum’s stunning 2008-09 Calder jewelry show. Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, with son Gabriel, designed the show: crisp white walls and floors, with mobiles cleverly served up on round mirror-topped tables.