Alexander Calder was born on July 22, 1898, in Lawnton Pennsylvania. His grandfather had been a well-known sculptor producing the statue of William Penn on top of Philadelphia city hall. His Father was also a well-known sculptor. The family moved to Pasadena California where Calder received his first studio to make his own sculptors. They then moved back east first to Philadelphia and then to the New York. The family moved back and forth between California and New York, but Calder finished Lowell High School in San Francisco.
Calder parents encouraged him to get a profession so he trained as a Mechanical Engineer. After working as an engineer for a few years he gave that up to become a full-time artist. He is best known for his creative abstract mobile constructions. He was also an illustrator and printmaker and designed many stage sets. His artistic influences ranged from Mondrian to Arp to Miro, and it was Marcel Duchamp who first gave the name "mobile" to Calder's signature work.