Candelabra by Mary Callery, circa 1950, USA


Iron candelabra by Mary Callery Sculpted iron candelabra Modernist, freeform Design Modern and Abstract Expressionist Sculpture, circa 1950 Good vintage condition Mary Callery (June 19, 1903 – February 12, 1977) was an American artist known for her Modern and Abstract Expressionist sculpture. She was part of the New York School art movement of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. A friend of Picasso, she was one of those who brought the good word of French modernism to America at the start of World War II. When Germany occupied Paris during World War II, she returned to the United States with “more Picassos than anyone in America” according to Alfred Barr of the Museum of Modern Art After returning to New York, Callery played an instrumental role in the development and growth of ULAE (Universal Limited Art Editions, Inc.). For many years, ULAE primarily published reproductions. It is thought by many that Mary Callery was the first artist to print original work at ULAE.[6] Callery’s first edition with ULAE, Sons of Morning, was completed in 1955. The paper that Callery’s second edition, Variations on a Theme of “Callery-Léger”, was printed on was called the “Callery gray” was used by Mrs. Grosman for the studio’s first printed labels, and is still the trademark gray ULAE uses today. Architect Philip Johnson, whom she had met her in Paris, became a close friend, and he introduced her to major players in the world of business and art in New York, including Nelson and Abby Rockefeller. Wallace Harrison, who along with Johnson, was responsible for the design of Lincoln Center, commissioned Callery to create a sculpture for the top of the proscenium arch at the Metropolitan Opera House. Described as “an untitled ensemble of bronze forms creating a bouquet of sculptured arabesques,” it is perhaps her best known work. It is most affectionately known by The Metropolitan Opera Company members as “The Car Wreck” and more infrequently as “Spaghetti Spoon in Congress with Plumbers Strap.” She was represented by the prestigious art dealers M. Knoedler & Co. and the Curt Valentin Gallery, and she exhibited in more than twenty noteworthy solo and group exhibitions. She became an acquaintance of Georgia O’Keeffe and in 1945 made a sculpture of O’Keeffe’s head. In 1945, she was invited to join the summer faculty of Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where she taught alongside Josef Albers, Robert Motherwell, Lyonel Feininger, and Walter Gropius. In 1923, she married Frederic R. Coudert Jr., lawyer (and future member of Congress). They had one daughter, Caroline, born in 1926. Mary sought a divorce from Coudert in 1930 and in 1931 married Italian textile industrialist and fine art collector Carlo Frua de Angeli. This second marriage also ended in divorce. Following the beginning of the Second World War, she carried on a romantic relationship with architect Mies van der Rohe who designed an artist’s studio for her in Huntington, on Long Island, New York. In her later years, Callery maintained studios in New York, Huntington, Long Island, and Paris. She died on February 12, 1977 at the American Hospital of Paris. She is buried in Cadaqués, Spain.


H 17 in. x W 12 in. x D 5 in.

H 43.18 cm x W 30.48 cm x D 12.7 cm