The Eagle
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ddeveaux's picture


Near the end of his life, Alexander Calder was commissioned to create a huge sculpture titled The Eagle that stayed true to its name by soaring across the country.

The immense sculpture stayed rooted in its spot outside Fort Worth National Bank headquarters for thirty years. But eventually the headquarters were sold off, and since The Eagle was privately owned, it was purchased by an unnamed investor.

The anonymous investor tried to keep the sculpture in Fort Worth, but could not find anyone in the city willing or able to meet the large price tag of the six ton sculpture. Next they tried in Philadelphia, going so far as to loan the sculpture to the city near where plans for a Calder museum were underway. The hope was that people would see how wonderful it looked in the city and someone would pay to keep it there. But again, no one was able to step up and pay the large fee.

The Eagle took flight once more, this time to Seattle where it sold for ten million dollars to a couple beginning plans for the Olympic Structure Park. They thought that such a strong piece was exactly what they needed for the first sculpture in the park.

The little bit of irony is that the huge size, weight, and stability of the piece is the opposite of what Calder is best known for. His signature work is delicate balances of wire. The mobiles that hang above most cribs can be credited to Calder. Those cute rotating clouds and rainbows originated from his artistic invention.

Over the course of his career, Calder created a great many whimsical wire sculptures. So The Eagle is about the equivalent of a "Punk goes Pop" album for Calder. In the last few years of his career he switched things up by doing various stationary sculptures that he coined stabiles, such as The Eagle.

Some fans of Calder dismiss his stabiles because they prefer only his signature wire work; but The Eagle clearly has many fans to merit its ten million dollars price tag. Likely it had a lot of fans among the population of Fort Worth who were sad to see it go, which would explain why the investor stayed unnamed. They probably didn’t want any hate mail flying their way.



  1. "Flashback: 1989 - Eagle Takes Flight." Accessed February 16, 2019.
  2. "Olympic Structure Park." Accessed February 16, 2019.
  3. Vogel, Carol. "INSIDE ART; Calder's 'Eagle' Lands in Seattle." The New York Times. July 21, 2000. Accessed February 16, 2019. -art-calder-s-eagle-lands-in-seattle.html.
  4. Waldmann, Nadine. "Alexander Calder's The Eagle in Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park." - Art History Stories. September 23, 2018. Accessed February 16, 2019.