Model for Flying Colors


Alexander Calder ( American, 1898 - 1976 )

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General Description

This model of a McDonnell Douglas DC-8 airplane was painted by artist Alexander Calder to provide a paint scheme for Dallas-based Braniff Airlines' Flying Colors, a full-scale aircraft providing passenger service between North and South America. "Humor," the most colorful of the six schemes Calder created, was selected by Braniff, and the design was transferred by their paint crew to the actual aircraft, although Calder personally added additional whimsical details of stylized fish and "beasties" to the engine nacelles, which do not appear on this model. Braniff Chairman Harding Lawrence expressed his desire that the jet's travel would allow "millions of people to see an original Calder" and provide for a "happy combination of international travel, business, and the arts." The airline's name did not appear on the aircraft, only the giant signature of the artist.

Excerpt from

DMA, Label text [1973.103], Tower Gallery, 1989.

Web Resources

    Click here to see a Calder design come to life.

  • Guggenheim
    See Calder airplane models hanging in the Guggenheim Museum.