January 25, 2022

Michigan: Grosse Pointe Public Library’s Calder Mobile Valued at $10 Million

Two reports.

From the Grosse Pointe News:

When the Grosse Pointe Library Foundation announced the establishment of its Breuer Preservation Fund during a gala last year, many patrons were left with eyebrows raised.

“A lot of people said they never noticed the artwork before,” said Jennifer Bingaman, executive director of the foundation. “The same amount of people said they grew up with it and never realized it was so valuable or famous.”

The works in question — a Lyman Kipp sculpture, Herbert Matter mural, Wassily Kandinsky tapestry and Alexander Calder mobile — are not only four major works of midcentury-modern art, but the pieces were commissioned specifically for Central Library when it was built in 1953.

From C&G News (Grosse Pointe Times

On June 18, the artwork [Calder mobile] was removed temporarily so that it could be evaluated by the New York City-based Calder Foundation, which is expected to tell library officials what, if anything, needs to be done to maintain this significant artwork.

The mobile, recently valued at $10 million, was last taken down in 1981, when it was cleaned and restored by Detroit Institute of Arts professionals based on “Calder’s handwritten recommendations at the time,” said Jennifer Bingaman, executive director of the Grosse Pointe Library Foundation.


In 2013, Grosse Pointe Questers No. 147 donated funds to have Kipp’s sculpture repainted, and the Grosse Pointe Public Library teamed with the Friends of the Grosse Pointe Public Library to have Matter’s mural, “The History of Writing” — located on a wall in the adult reading room — restored, Bingaman said. The Kandinsky tapestry is slated to be cleaned at the end of August, and she said they hope to have the Calder mobile back in time for another Grosse Pointe Library Foundation fundraiser at the Central Branch on Sept. 26.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.