Born in Pennsylvania, Calder was the son of a successful sculptor. After graduating in mechanical engineering in 1919, he studied painting at the Art Students League, New York, from 1923 to 1926. The students made a game of sketching people on the streets and the subway. Calder was able to convey movement with a single unbroken line: this led to his first wire sculptures of 1926. He began making abstract sculptures in 1930, some of which incorporated motors to make them move, while others moved of their own accord. Calder was the first sculptor to experiment with the implications of motion; he was a pioneer of kinetic art.