Tue, 5th Oct 2021 10:00

Modern and Contemporary Art - Live Online

  Lot 221


Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976)

Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976)
signed and dated 'Calder '61' l.r., watercolour and gouache
55 x 74.5cm

Provenance: Botanist, writer and explorer Nicholas Guppy (1925-2012) acquired it directly from the artist;
then acquired by close friends, the Rentons, Folly Mill, Thaxted, Essex.

In 1953, while spending a year in Aix-en-Provence, Calder produced his first series of gouache paintings and continued to work in this medium until his death in 1976. Lot 221, Calder's 'Untitled' watercolour and gouache on paper, was created in 1961. In this bold painting, Calder works with quick, broad brushstrokes to form a vivid image. He cleverly deploys bright colours, not quite touching the yellow and blue together, allowing the white of the paper to become an important part of the composition. 'I paint with shapes', Calder once said, and it is the two more thickly painted orange circles that catch our attention and create balance in this piece.

Take advantage of our Sworders Delivery Service. Please see 'Shipping estimate' below.

Sold for £18,000

Condition Report

Viewed out of glazed frame. Colours appeared more vivid out of glazed frame (how it was initially photographed). Paper is attached to mount board with small pieces of tape along each edge. Looks like it could be reasonably easily removed as opposed to being pasted down. Some very light time staining to lower left edge. A few light surface abrasions on blue watercolour. Some of the thicker areas of paint, ie red and yellow have some light craquelure. Two small brush hairs attached to surface in yellow above lower red circle. A tiny handling crease to right edge. Please see additional condition images on website.

Condition Report Disclaimer

A condition report made by us, whether orally or in writing, is a matter of opinion, of the seller or Sworders, and cannot be considered a statement of fact; our staff are not professional restorers, historian’s or conservators.

The condition of an item can vary widely due to factors such as age, damage, restoration and repair, their very nature means they are rarely in perfect condition, therefore, all lots are sold ‘as is’. Whilst all due diligence is taken to ensuring the information provided is accurate, we cannot be held responsible for omissions, faults, defects, restoration, alteration, variations in colour and shades, or changes not identified, and you must satisfy yourself (without limitation) as to the condition, age, authenticity, and provenance prior to purchasing a lot.

All dimensions and weights are approximate.




To bid in person at auction for the first time please register for a bidding paddle in advance by filling out and submitting a registration form at our front desk. When registering in person we require photo ID, such as a passport or driving licence.


If you cannot attend the auction in person we can bid on your behalf. You can leave an absentee bid on our website.

The amount you bid should be your maximum bid. We will bid up to that limit for you, and remember you may end up paying less than your limit, depending on other bidding on the day.

You can leave an absentee bid up to half an hour before the start of any sale. Please note when we receive two or more absentee bids for the same amount, the first bid received will be the one taken.


If you would like to leave a commission bid on our website you can do so up until 30 minutes before the sale starts. Leaving a commission bid through sworder.co.uk is free for all registered clients. Thereafter you may register bank card details under your account in order to bid live. Click here to register an account.

BID LIVE ON sworder.co.uk

You can bid live at our auctions from the comfort of your home or office using bidding platform Sworders Live.  It is easy to register and you can watch the auction live as it happens.  A 'Bid Live' button will appear on the auction on our website homepage when a sale is live; simply click the button to sign in or register with your card details. There is no additional charge for this service. 

For further instructions on registering to bid live, please click here.


If you would like to bid by telephone please contact our team prior to the auction with your details of the lots you are interested in and your full name, address, telephone number(s) and email address. Once our team have entered your bid request you will receive an email confirmation. We will contact you during the sale and one of our team will bid live with you over the phone.

Please note that we normally offer this service for lots with an estimate of £500 or higher and all telephone bid requests must be received by close of business the day before the auction.

Auction: Modern and Contemporary Art - Live Online, Tue, 5th Oct 2021



Due to current social distancing restrictions, we will be offering viewing by appointment only. 

One hour time slots will be available from:

Fri 1 Oct, 9am - 5pm 

Sun 3 Oct, 10am - 1pm

Mon 4 Oct, 9am - 5pm 

Book Appointment

All lots are, however, extensively illustrated and carry detailed condition reports - see 'Condition report' at the foot of each lot description. 

View all lots in this sale

Please select the shipping destination;

Buying a pre-loved, antique, or vintage item not only provides you with unique style and value for money but it also helps to reduce landfill, and the annual emissions of an antique or vintage piece can be as little as one sixteenth of those of its new equivalent!

Sworders is proud to be supporting the work of Antiques are Green - the movement that was founded in 2009 to promote “a greener future created from the past”. Read their fascinating carbon footprint study of a Georgian chest of drawers versus a modern equivalent here


Antiques are Green


Request A Valuation

Here at Sworders, we are happy to offer a free online valuation service. Please fill out the form and press the 'Submit' button below.

To help us with your valuation please attach clear photographs of the item where possible. You can submit up to 5.

Approximate dimensions are also useful. Expect to hear from the appropriate valuer as soon as possible.


Drag and drop .jpg images here to upload, or click here to select images.