Born in Pennsylvania. After studying mechanical engineering in college, studied art at the Art Students League. While working on illustrations for a tabloid newspaper, became fascinated with the circus as subject matter. Traveled to France in 1926 and began to make toys in addition to his art activities. Held performances of “The Circus,” with its small actors made out of wire and wood. This brought Calder his first acclaim from artists, and the following year performances were held in New York. Interacted with a variety of artists in Paris, including Miro and Arp, and was deeply impressed when he visited Mondrian's studio in 1930. This lead to his creation of abstract works. The following year Calder displayed motor-driven sculptures which Duchamp called "Mobiles", and this led Calder to create independently moving abstract sculptures. Along with his non-moving works called "stabiles", Calder became known for his mobiles.