After Alexander Stirling Calder
Signed Stirling Calder (lc) and inscribed Copyright 1914/Panama Pacific International/Exposition Co. on the side of the base
Bronze with green and brown patina
Height 54 inches
In 1914, Alexander Stirling Calder, Activity Chief for the Sculpture Department for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, selected Audrey Munson as the model for a number of paintings and works of sculpture for the fair. Munson, a popular artist's model in New York City, posed for some three-quarters of the sculptures, among them a number for a project by Calder himself incorporating ninety-five female figures. The present work was designed as one of the figures for the Colonnade of Stars, which overlooked the magnificent Court of the Universe, the central court at the Exposition. The figures' pointed headdresses were ornamented with Novagems-facet-cut Bohemian glass "jewels"- that were illuminated at night by spotlights. The Star Maiden was the iconic image for the Panama Pacific International Exposition, and was used as the central motif for the gold and silver badges of the fair officials.
The figures for the Colonnade of Stars were based upon terra cotta maquettes, which were enlarged by artisans into figures of plaster and staff, painted to resemble bronze. One of the original plasters, now in the permanent collection of the Oakland Museum, served as the maquette for a posthumous bronze cast produced in 1971 by Art Bronzes, Richmond, California, that is also owned by the Museum. The Wolfsonian Museum, Florida International University, Miami Beach, also owns a version in bronze.
Other posthumous casts were produced in California at roughly the same period, including a version made by Nordhammer Foundry at the behest of Margaret Calder Hayes, the daughter of A. Stirling Calder. The present work does not bear a foundry mark, but to date no lifetime bronze castings of the Star Maiden by Alexander Stirling Calder have been identified.
We are grateful to Arthur Monroe, Oakland Museum of California Art and Rolf Kriken, Nordhammer Foundry, for their kind assistance in documenting this work.
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