In 1969, Grand Valley State College student William Lawson proposed to produce a documentary short, in sound and color, of Dr. Alexander Calder and his sculpture, La Grande Vitesse, which was erected in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. In order to produce the film, Lawson worked with Grand Valley State College, Alexander Calder, Klaus Perls, Nancy Mulnix, Ross Roy Incorporated, and cinematographer Victor Duncan to fund the project, research the subject, and ultimately produce the film. The original film was expanded in 2009 in honor of the stabile’s fortieth anniversary to a fifty-seven minute program for Grand Valley State University’s Public Broadcast channel.
The sculpture itself was created by Calder in Paris using sheet metal, bolts, and orange paint. The stabile measures 43’ x 55’ x 25’.