With Flying Colors
Alexander Calder for Braniff Airlines
In the early 1973, Braniff Airlines commissioned Alexander Calder to paint one of their aircrafts to celebrate twenty-five years of travel to South America. Excited by the prospect of his artwork literally flying around the world, Calder accepted and submitted designs to cover a Douglas DC-8-62. The finished craft, named The Flying Colors of South America featured a bold design in primary colors, executed by a paint crew with Calder attending to the details and additional flourishes—including his trademark “Beasties” which were painted on the engines.
The present work depicts one of these stylized creatures printed to commemorate the project. The aircraft was unveiled at the 1975 Pairs Air Show and made such an impression that Braniff commissioned two more planes, both Boeing 727s. Calder completed The Flying Colors of the United States featuring an abstract American Flag in time for the 1976 Bicentennial. Alas, the artist did not live to complete the third aircraft, The Spirit of Mexico.