As you might guess, the engineering and installation of Alexander Calder's massive painted steel sculptures -- those red-orange or black brontosaurs stationed in concrete plazas from Chicago to Paris in the '60s and '70s -- were not the work of an artist operating solo. An undertaking of operatic scale, each piece involved a full complement of metalsmiths and fabricators, foundries and forklifts.

Calder enjoyed the teamwork. In the decades preceding his death in 1976, the artist joined with metal workers, printmakers and weavers to realize projects large and small. In Annapolis, a selection of intimate graphic works on view at the Mitchell Gallery of St. John's College highlights the collaborations that marked his final years. Like the mammoth public sculptures, these prints and tapestries were conceived by the artist but executed by others. Lithographers transferred Calder's gouaches onto plates, pulling editions of 75 to 200. On their looms, weavers transformed Calder's cartoons into tapestries reaching five feet across.

The cooperative approach differed significantly from Calder's early methods. Even as a child, he proved a tinkerer extraordinaire. As a young artist living in New York and Paris in the 1920s and '30s, Calder bent and twisted each wire that formed his portrait sculptures and small-scale mobiles. This young man's obsession with wire and other metal generated an army of doodads flickering with life.

The older Calder assumed a hands-off approach. Assembling a host of skilled subcontractors to carry out his vision, he emerged as a master craftsman overseeing his own collaborators. He encouraged their input. The weavers in Aubusson, France, while making his Bicentennial Tapestries in the mid-'70s, improvised a variety of textures. They pumped up blues and reds with a wide band. They plaited white wool tightly, giving those areas the illusion of recession.

Although the artist's collaborators certainly influenced the final works, every piece remains unequivocally a Calder. In his later years, Calder stressed elegance over whimsy. The abstractions are relaxed and subdued, less bent on entertaining than his earlier works. But his pictures retain Calder's signature exuberance and buoyancy. Their subjects -- circus animals and geometric forms -- and palette remain classic Calder.

A Calder show isn't complete without the circus, right? An early assignment, back in the mid-1920s, to illustrate the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and New York area zoos for a tabloid, shaped a lifetime of artistic practice. The earliest works in this show, nine prints from a suite of 16 drawings of circus scenes, are 1964 reproductions of images done in 1931 and 1932. Each was drawn in a nearly continuous line -- Calder barely lifted pen from paper as he worked. Each figure and detail -- a trapeze artist's skirt, a lion, a cage -- exists purely in outline, like a ghost. With no trainer or acrobat blocking what lurks behind him, we see everything at once. It's as if every seat were ringside under Calder's big top.

Later works, which make up the bulk of this 28-piece show, are experiments with abstraction and organic form. His kindergarten-bright palette of red, blue and yellow, famously influenced by a 1930 visit to the studio of Piet Mondrian, fills languid ovals and circles. He toys with simple colors and shapes as if arranging and rearranging building blocks. Some could be studies for large-scale pieces. Three boomerang-shaped figures dancing across the paper in "Trois Arches" echo the shapes of Calder's monumental sculptures.

Circus animals, along with sea life and reptiles, appear here, too. A snail's shell or a rattlesnake's coiled body seem to be models for the fiddlehead spirals of his abstractions. The tapestry "Time Is Limitless" includes the organic and the abstract: Two spirals and a snake with curving tail are juxtaposed, as if Calder couldn't settle on one or the other. For Calder, nature and abstraction were a collaborative affair, too.

Robert Blackburn at LOC The Calder exhibition highlights a visionary artist working with multiple collaborators. But what of the other side, of the workshops and experts who work with folks like him? At the Library of Congress, "Creative Space: Fifty Years of Robert Blackburn's Printmaking Workshop" offers a look inside a printmaking studio whose presses were used by legions of famous and not-so-famous artists.

Blackburn, an artist and printmaker, grew up in Harlem in the 1920s and '30s, at the tail end of the Harlem Renaissance. He was mentored by Augusta Savage and James Lesesne Wells. As a teenager, he learned lithography at a WPA-sponsored community center. He hung out with Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence and Roy DeCarava. In 1948 Blackburn set up a printmaking shop in Chelsea. By the early 1970s, the Printmaking Workshop had grown into a full-fledged studio catering to hundreds of artists, many of them African American, who worked or trained there.

"Creative Space" is a visual guest book of the artists who sojourned in Blackburn's studio over the last half-century. This modest show of prints illustrates, more or less chronologically, his studio's output. From Elizabeth Catlett's linocut of a girl holding bread from the 1960s to Faith Ringgold's 1984 abstraction "Death of Apartheid" to Margo Humphrey's delicate chine colle{acute} from 1994, Blackburn saw a host of famous faces come through his doors.

Celebration of Life: Graphic Works by Alexander Calder, at the Mitchell Gallery, St. John's College, 60 College Ave., Annapolis, Tuesday-Sunday noon-5 p.m., additional hours Friday 7-8 p.m., 410-626-2556, to April 18.

Creative Space: Fifty Years of Robert Blackburn's Printmaking Workshop, in the Great Hall, Thomas Jefferson Building, Library of Congress, 10 First St. SE, Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., 202-707-4604, to June 28.

Calder's "Elephant, Cat and Red Dog," left, and "Stone Age" -- two of the drawings on view in "Celebration of Life: Graphic Works by Alexander Calder" at the Mitchell Gallery of St. John's College -- are unmistakably his no matter how many hands may have helped produce them."Creative Space," at the Library of Congress, is a visual guest book of the artists who worked or trained in Robert Blackburn's printmaking studio in Chelsea over the last half-century, among them Romare Bearden ("The Train").