Google Logo Honors Mobile Inventor Alexander Calder

If you’re wondering what the logo is on Google today, it’s a mobile – perhaps you have memories of one hanging above your crib, or maybe even one hanging above your own child’s crib. Alexander Calder, born 113 years ago today in 1898, may not have invented the baby mobile, but his large sculptures, dubbed mobile art because of the use of moving parts and wires, were the inspiration for the genre.

Alexander Calder Google Doodle

The doodle is clever – it moves when you mouse around it – and there is a spot where it almost disappears. The shadow below the search box moves in synch, too.

The art appears to be 3D, and the creativity to make this work can be seen in the large amount of code Google has on the page. If you check the page source, there is so much more code than an ordinary Google homepage.

Calder would have loved the work that went in to this doodle. The mobile has the fish motif that Calder was known for, and that childish feel that the artist and toy creator enjoyed.


Calder is from a family of American artists. His father was a famous sculptor – as was his grandfather, who sculpted the William Penn statute that sits above Philadelphia’s City Hall – and his mother was a professional portrait painter trained in France at the Sorbonne.

“In the 1950s, Calder increasingly concentrated his efforts on producing monumental sculptures. Notable examples are “.125” for JFK Airport in 1957, “La Spirale” for UNESCO in Paris 1958 and “Man” (“L’Homme”), commissioned for Expo 67 in Montreal. Calder’s largest sculpture until that time, 20.5 meters high, was “El Sol Rojo,” constructed for the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City,” Wikipedia notes.

His mobiles are exhibited in some of the best known museums of the world. There is a room set aside in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Calder, who died November 11, 1976, was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977.


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