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 Paul Calle  (1928 - 2010)

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Lived/Active: Connecticut/New York      Known for: frontier and space genre painting, commemorative stamp design

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Ad Code: 2
Paul Calle
from Auction House Records.
When Trails Grow Cold
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is The New York Times obituary of the artist, December 31, 2010

Paul Calle, Postage Stamp Designer, Is Dead at 82
By MARGALIT FOX

The cause was melanoma, said his son Chris, who is also a stamp designer.

A longtime Stamford resident, Mr. Calle (pronounced KAL-ee) designed more than 40 United States stamps, licked by generations of postwar Americans. He was best known for the 10-cent stamp, commissioned by NASA and issued in 1969, commemorating the Apollo 11 moon landing that year.

His other stamps include ones honoring Gen. Douglas MacArthur (1971), Robert Frost (1974), the International Year of the Child (1979), Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan (1980), Frederic Remington (1981), Pearl S. Buck (1983), the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (1984) and folk-art carousel horses (1988 and again, with new artwork, in 1995).

Mr. Calle’s work has been exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City and elsewhere.

With Chris, he designed two 1994 stamps — a 29-cent first-class stamp and a $9.95 express-mail stamp — commemorating the moon landing’s 25th anniversary. Father and son also collaborated on stamps for Sweden, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and the United Nations.

Paul Calle was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan on March 3, 1928. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and during the Korean War was an illustrator for the Army.

Early in his career, Mr. Calle did cover artwork for science-fiction pulp magazines like Galaxy, Fantasy Fiction and Super Science Stories, as well as for general-interest publications like The Saturday Evening Post.

In 1962, he was among the inaugural group of artists chosen for the NASA Art Program, a documentary record of the space program that has produced thousands of works to date. Mr. Calle’s early art for the program includes a pair of 5-cent stamps, issued in 1967, depicting the Gemini casule and the astronaut Ed White making the first American spacewalk in 1965.

On July 16, 1969, the day Apollo 11 was launched, Mr. Calle was the only artist allowed to observe the astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, as they readied themselves for the mission — eating breakfast, donning their spacesuits and the like. He captured their preparations in a series of intimate pen-and-ink sketches later exhibited at the National Air and Space Museum.

That morning, when the astronauts lifted off, one of the things they carried was the engraved printing plate of Mr. Calle’s commemorative stamp. As the moon lacked a post office, a proof made from the plate was hand-canceled by the men aboard the spacecraft.

Mr. Calle’s wife, the former Olga Wyhowanec, whom he married in 1951, died in 2003. Besides his son Chris, he is survived by another son, Paul P., a veterinarian at the Bronx Zoo; a daughter, Claudia Calle Beal; and six grandchildren.

Interviewed after the moon landing, Mr. Calle divulged the secret of his rigorous craft: “When you do a stamp,” he said, “think big, but draw small.”


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Best known for his skill with pencil in detailed drawings of western art subjects, especially mountain men during the fur trade era, Paul Calle was born in New York City.

In 1947, he attended Pratt Institute at age nineteen and was much taken with the figure work of Thomas Hart Benton.  He also learned woodcut techniques from Lynd Ward and the effect of sinewy lines from Ben Shahn.  Ever-working in black and white until he became a painter of western subjects, he was a magazine illustrator for McCalls, The Saturday Evening Post, National Geographic and Fortune.

He became official artist of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Fine Art Program and designed the "First Man on the Moon" stamp for the United States Postal Service.  He also did illustration work for the Department of the Interior, which led to many western paintings.

His technique is to create a buildup of lines to create his figures, creating a soft, air-like effect.

Paul Calle lives in Stamford, Connecticut, and is the author of The Pencil, recently into its sixth printing and first published in 1974.

Sources include:
Walt Reed, The Illustrator in America
Southwest Art
Art of the West

Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, I:
Realistic oil painter and pencil drawer of America’s Western past, Paul Calle was born in New York City in 1928 and then lived in Stamford, Connecticut. “I think that if I had to state a goal, a hope pertaining to my work,” Calle says, “my aim would be to help keep alive that huge reservoir of our past, to draw strength and sustenance from it, to build upon it in ways that are new and different, but not reject it.

”After graduating from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 1947, Calle worked in commercial art and is a member of the Society of Illustrators. In 1962, he was chosen by the National Gallery of Art as an official artist for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and in 1969 Calle’s “First Man on the Moon” postage stamp had a run of 150 billion.

He pointed out the connection between space exploration and the Western experience when he traveled the West for the National Park Service in 1967, and he commented of the “romance and beauty” that he saw and the “enormity of the country.

”In 1973, he turned his talent to painting the West, particularly Indians. He still paints in the converted hayloft of a big red barn in Connecticut, but he is surrounded there by Western gear, garb, and guns that come from the regular sketching and photographing trips he takes. For each painting, Calle makes an exact-size pencil drawing in minute detail, so finished that one drawing won an award and has been released as a print.

Resource:
"Contemporary Western Artists", by Peggy and Harold Samuels. 1982, Judd’s Inc., Washington, D.C.

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