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La Grand Vitesse film

 Collection — Box: 6-A
Identifier: RHC-64

Collection Description

The documentary film produced by William Lawson, La Grande Vitesse: The Work of Alexander Calder, follows the unloading of the stabile pieces in Detroit, its construction in downtown Grand Rapids, Calder’s arrival in the city, and several interview pieces on Calder’s life and work. The collection contains 16mm film reels, an audio CD of interview and lecture material from Klaus Perls and Sweeney, and a DVD of the completed documentary. Records also include contracts for creating the film, correspondence, and drafts of treatment for the documentary.


  • 1969-2009


Access to Materials

Collection is open for research use. Creator retains copyright. Collection is open for research use. Materials may be accessed by request at Special Collections and University Archives in Seidman House. Materials do not circulate.

Publication Rights

For information on copyright or permissions for this collection, contact Grand Valley State University Special Collections.

Administrative History

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’.


1.25 Linear feet (1 carton)

Language of Materials


Source of Acquisition

Copies of the project acquired from the filmmaker and former Grand Valley student William Lawson ca. 2007.
La Grand Vitesse film, RHC-64
Special Collections & University Archives
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Grand Valley State University Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Seidman House
1 Campus Drive
Allendale MI 49401 United States