Three Discs, One Lacking (1968)

by Alexander "Sandy" Calder (1898 - 1976)

Photo Caption: Photo Caitlin Martin © 2010 for the Association for Public Art
Benjamin Franklin Parkway between 16th and 17th Streets

  • Title

    Three Discs, One Lacking

  • Artist

    Alexander "Sandy" Calder (1898 - 1976)

  • Year

    installed 1968; relocated 1979, 1982, 1998, 2009

  • Medium

    Painted iron alloy

  • Dimensions

    Height 8'6", width 7'

  • Themes

    The Calder Family (of Artists)

Purchased by the City of Philadelphia, Planning Commission

Owned by the City of Philadelphia

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At A Glance

  • Part of the Museum Without Walls: AUDIO program

  • One of Alexander Calder’s “stabiles”

  • Edmund Bacon, Director of Philadelphia’s City Planning Commission, purchased this iron alloy painted sculpture for the City in 1968

Calder’s Three Discs, One Lacking was originally installed at Penn Center Plaza in 1968. Photo by Edward Gallob for the Association for Public Art.

Alexander “Sandy” Calder descended from a family of famous Philadelphia sculptors. His father’s Swann Memorial Fountain on Logan Square and grandfather’s City Hall sculptures (see William Penn) represent artwork from three generations. Trained as a mechanical engineer and artist, Calder invented “mobiles” and “stabiles,” such as this stationary work, Three Discs, One Lacking, as well as paintings, toys, tapestries, and jewelry.

Edmund Bacon, Director of Philadelphia’s City Planning Commission, purchased this iron alloy painted sculpture for the City in 1968 with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Originally placed at the Penn Center Plaza along JFK Boulevard in 1968, the sculpture is now installed on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 17th Street, near Henry Moore’s Three Way Piece Number 1:  Points and Barbara Hepworth’s Rock Form (Porthcurno).




Voices heard in the program:

Donald Lipski is an internationally recognized artist who lives and works in Philadelphia.

Elizabeth Hutton Turner is an art historian who serves as an Advisor to the Calder Foundation.

Segment Producer: Jonathan Mitchell

A program of the Association for Public Art (formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association), Museum Without Walls: AUDIO is an innovative and accessible outdoor sculpture audio program for Philadelphia’s preeminent collection of public art.

User calls Museum Without Walls Audio for Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture
Photo Albert Yee © 2010 for the Association for Public Art

A “multi-platform” interactive audio experience – available for free by cell phone, mobile app, or on our website – Museum Without Walls: AUDIO offers the unique histories that are not typically expressed on outdoor permanent signage.

Unlike audio tours that have a single authoritative guide or narrator, each speaker featured in Museum Without Walls: AUDIO is an “authentic voice” – someone who is connected to the sculpture by knowledge, experience, or affiliation.

Over 150 unique voices are featured, including artists, educators, scientists, writers, curators, civic leaders, and historians.



This artwork is part of the Along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway tour

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