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Nanette Calder

(1866 - 1960)

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Biography

Nanette Calder (1866-1960) was the wife of Alexander Stirling Calder (1870-1945) and mother to Alexander Calder (1898-1976).  Also an artist herself, Nanette studied at the Academie Julien and the Sorbonne in Paris from 1888 to 1893.  She then returned to Philadelphia and furthered her studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where she met her husband, then an instructor at the academy. 

Nanette painted throughout her life and was considered to be quite gifted by many of her artist friends.  Primarily a portraitist she did sell some paintings and also took on commissions, however, she ultimately set her painting aside in order to take care of her family, including her father.  As a portraitist, Nanette often had her children as her subjects, both her son Alexander and also her daughter Margaret. 

The present work is of her daughter Margaret Calder Hayes and in a letter from Margaret she confirms, “I posed many times, (as did my brother Sandy), and mother often took liberties about exact likenesses.  The hair and coloring are mine and I think I remember the garment, from which I would date it 1915-1918….”

After her children were grown, Nanette was able to once again resume her art studies at the Art Students League in New York. 

The present work is accompanied by the original letter from Margaret Calder Hayes authenticating and describing the painting.