Alexander Calder’s Iconic Flying Colors Series for Braniff Airlines in the 1970s

In the early 1973, Braniff Airlines commissioned Alexander Calder to paint one of their aircrafts to celebrate twenty-five years of travel to South America.

Excited by the prospect of his artwork literally flying around the world, Calder accepted and submitted designs to cover a Douglas DC-8-62. The finished craft, named The Flying Colors of South America featured a bold design in primary colors, executed by a paint crew with Calder attending to the details and additional flourishes—including his trademark “Beasties” which were painted on the engines.

h/t: vintag.es

The present work depicts one of these stylized creatures printed to commemorate the project. The aircraft was unveiled at the 1975 Pairs Air Show and made such an impression that Braniff commissioned two more planes, both Boeing 727s. Calder completed The Flying Colors of the United States featuring an abstract American Flag in time for the 1976 Bicentennial. Alas, the artist did not live to complete the third aircraft, The Spirit of Mexico.

Alexander Calder (July 22, 1898 – November 11, 1976) was an American sculptor known both for his innovative mobiles (kinetic sculptures powered by motors or air currents) that embrace chance in their aesthetic, and static “stabiles” monumental public sculptures. He didn’t limit his art to sculptures; he also created paintings, jewelry, theatre sets and costumes.

Calder preferred not to analyze his work, saying, “Theories may be all very well for the artist himself, but they shouldn’t be broadcast to other people.”

Born into a family of artists, Calder’s work first gained attention in Paris in the 1920s and was soon championed by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, resulting in a retrospective exhibition in 1943. Major retrospectives were also held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1964) and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1974).

Although primarily known for his sculpture, Calder also created paintings and prints, miniatures (such as his famous Cirque Calder), theater set design, jewelry design, tapestries and rugs, and political posters. He was honored by the US Postal Service with a set of five 32-cent stamps in 1998, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, posthumously in 1977, after refusing to receive it from Gerald Ford one year earlier in protest of the Vietnam War.










(Visited 1 times, 4 visits today)

Leave Your Comment Below


If you want more awesome content, subscribe to 'Oh, Design You Trust,' our brand new Facebook page! Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

More Inspiring Stories

Minimalist Spiral and Colorful Sculptures by Lee Sangsoo
Baker Turns Loaves of Bread into Adorably Sleepy “Catloaf”
Chinese Artist Makes Bizarre Taxidermy Creatures
The Groovy Opel Car Calendar Of 1970
Giant Hand-Face Sculpture Looming Over New Zealand Freaks Out Its People
Beautiful Handcrafted Tool Chess Set By The House Of Staunton
"Field Of Light": Bruce Munro Creates Fantastic Lighting Installations Across The Urban Landscapes
Cockblock Corona Mask: Mother Selling Social Distancing Penis Face Masks Raises Money For Non-Profit, So Far
TONITURE Lets Kids Build Their Own Fun Furniture Designs
Shapereader, A Comic For Blind Readers
Boyfriend Lets His Quarantined Hairstylist GF Experiment With His Hair, Here’s The Result
The Most Controversial Ultrarealistic Art Sculptures By Patricia Piccinini
Fabulously Disconcerting Anthropomorphic Human Faces Baked Into Top Crusts Of Handmade Pot Pies
Artist Creates Minimalist Masterpieces Out Of Food, Then Eats Them
A Floating Forest Is Being Installed In The City Of Rotterdam
An Artist Pranked People By Leaving Life-Sized Airpods Stickers On The Ground All Over San Francisco
Eric van Straaten And His Realistic 3D Printed Sculptures
Artist Built The City Of ‘Salem’s Lot’ As A Tribute To Stephen King’s Great Novel
Absolutely Superb Ground Meat Sculptures by Kieran Gormley
Inception Coffee Table By Stelios Mousarris
Yes, This Is A Leopard Milk Bread!
The Balance Lamp: A Lamp That Creates A Look Of Balance Between Dark And Light
Artist Zouassi Makes Superb Twisting Blankets Inspired By Fractals And Glitches
Italian Artist Proves Tattoos Look Good On More Than People’s Skin By Putting Them On His Sculptures
Two Culinary Students Made Gigantic, Chocolate Covered Rock Candy Geodes
Beautifully Designed Fabric Fills Delhi’s Auto Rickshaw Interior With Vibrant Original Artwork
These Hermit Crab Shells Were Inspired By The Skylines Of Famous Cities
Street Art Sculptor “Unzips” A Building In Milan For Mind-Bending Art Installation
This Organiser Will Reveal A Collection Of The Most Frequent Searches Made Using The Google Search
Let This Fruit Slice Furniture Juice Up Your Outdoor Living Area