The circus became a lifelong interest of Calder's, and after moving to Paris in 1926, he created his , a complex and unique body of art.
The assemblage included diminutive performers, animals, and props he had observed at the Ringling Bros. Fashioned from wire, leather, cloth, and other found materials, was designed to be manipulated manually by Calder.
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Calder worked for several years after graduation at various jobs, including as a hydraulics and automotive engineer, timekeeper in a logging camp, and fireman in a ship's boiler room.
While serving in the latter occupation, on a ship from New York bound for San Francisco, Calder awoke on the deck to see both a brilliant sunrise and a scintillating full moon; each was visible on opposite horizons (the ship then lay off the Guatemalan coast).
Calder's renderings of his circus often lasted about two hours and were quite elaborate.
Indeed, the predated performance art by forty years.
Despite his talents, Calder did not originally set out to become an artist.