WESTERN AND MOUNTIAN MAN ARTIST PAUL CALLE.
Paul Calle, Postage Stamp Designer, Is Dead at 82
By MARGALIT FOX
Published: December 31, 2010 The below is from the NY Times
Paul Calle, a commercial artist whose most famous work was no bigger than a postage stamp, died on Thursday December 30 th, 2010 in Stamford, Conn. Mr. Calle, one of the most highly regarded stamp designers in the nation, was 82.
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 capsule 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.”
Paul Calle is an artist whose work reflects the dramatic era of America's Western heritage as well as the one in which he lives. For Calle, the dimensions of art can be as vast as the wild, wind-swept plains of the West, as infinite as outer space and as small as the historic scenes he captures on postage stamps for the United States Postal Service.
Calle has designed more than 30 stamps in as many years. Among this noted artist’s many distinctions is the First Man on the Moon series of stamps that he designed which sold more than 150 billion. Other Calle stamps include those honoring Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jesse Owens, Helen Keller, Robert Frost, Douglas MacArthur, Pearl Buck and Frederic Remington, in addition to stamps depicting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the International Year of the Child in 1979 and promoting causes such as volunteerism and encouraging early cancer detection. Calle also designed the U.S. Postal Service’s first twin stamp to commemorate the successful Gemini Space Walk.
Calle’s portrayal of the West is not as a romantic adventure but as a realistic challenge. He has made a personal commitment to portray America's past with the same sense of history that guided his hand in depicting our nation's space explorations as an artist for NASA's Fine Art Program.
Calle is a master of both the oil painting and the pencil drawing. His drawings — often very large — show incredible control and sensitivity; they have the quality of fine etchings. Few contemporary artists have attained greater mastery of the pencil than Calle, who shares his skills in his book, The Pencil, a record of his odyssey as "an artist with a pencil." It has been translated into French, Chinese and Russian. Another book of his art, Artist Paul Calle: An Artist's Journey, was awarded the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Award for Fine Arts in 1993.
In addition to major corporate and private collections, Paul Calle's artwork is in the permanent collections of numerous prestigious institutions including The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, The National Portrait Gallery, The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Gilcrease Museum. Calle received the distinguished Nona Jean Hulsey Buyer’s Choice Award at the Prix de West Invitational, presented by the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center. His drawings and paintings have been widely exhibited in the United States as well as in the former Soviet Union, Sweden and Poland.
Paul Calle says, "If I had to state a goal, a hope pertaining to my work, my aim would be to help keep alive that huge reservoir of our past, to draw strength and sustenance from it and build upon it in ways that are new and different, but not to reject it. I find my inspiration in all the life that surrounds and envelops me, from the evolution of man and his works, of the timelessness of the rocks, the trees, of man, his land, the sky and the sea. That's what it's all about: art is always a visual experience. This is my world, and I relish it with great affection."
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