A large scale mobile sculpture by American artist Alexander Calder (1898-1976) is on permanent exhibition in Palma’s Jardins de s’Hort del Rei, just below the Palau de l’Almudaina in Passeig Antoni Maura. The sculpture is called Nancy (1972); the object was part of an exhibition of Calder’s work in Sala Pelaires (a Palma gallery) in September/October of 1972. The American artist enjoyed a lifelong friendship with Mallorca’s Joan Miró, who in turn was instrumental in getting Calder’s exhibition organised at Pelaires. Both artists had met and become friends whilst living and working in Paris (France) in 1928.
Miró persuaded his friend Calder to donate the sculpture to the Ajuntament de Palma in 1973 but, as so often, the bureaucrats did not show much enthusiasm about the present. A sizeable amount of customs duties and excise tax would have had to be paid. But luckily some bigshots in Madrid considered the work of art worthy of being classified as a patrimonio nacional, thus allowing the sculpture to be exempt from import duties. Now, the townhall in Palma graciously accepted the free gift.
The artist’s wish was to have his mobile displayed in Palma’s new Parque del Mar, between the Cathedral and the sea, allowing for the winds of the sea breeze to gently keep Nancy moving. But the only place where the mobile was ever exhibited under the custody of the Palma mandarins were the s’Hort del Rei gardens from 1974 till 1985, and again from 1994 until today.
If you want to go and see the Calder mobile, you might also wish to pay a visit to Joan Miró’s nearby work Monument a la dona, often refered to as Miró’s Egg, just outside the Grand Café Cappuccino in Carrer Conquistador.
The photo (top) was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: April 17th, 2009. The time was 15:00:16. The photo (bottom) shows the cover of a cataloge for an 2004-05 exhibition of works by Calder and Miró at Fondation Beyeler, Basel (Switzerland) and Phillips Collection in Washington DC (USA). This image was borrowed from the Amazon.com website. Thank you very much.