Organizations* : NWR
From the Wild West to the frontier of space, Calle is an artist for whom the dimensions of art can be as vast as the wild, windswept plains of the West, as infinite as outer space and as small as the historic scenes he captures on postage stamps.
The official artist of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Fine Art Program, Paul Calle also designed the “First Man on the Moon” stamp for the United States Postal Service. He was also an illustrator for the Department of the Interior, which led to many of his western works, for which he is best known. His specialty is mountain men during the fur trade era, using a buildup of lines to create his figures, creating a soft, air-like effect.
His portrayal of the West is not as a romantic adventure but as a realistic challenge. Calle 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, which is reflected in the popularity of his book, The Pencil, first published in 1974 and now into its sixth printing. His oil paintings, finely detailed panoramic landscapes of the majestic West, often take several years to complete.
In addition to major corporate and private collections, Calle’s artwork is in the permanent collections of numerous prestigious institutions including The National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Washington, D.C., The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Department of the Interior. His drawings and paintings have been widely exhibited in the United States as well as in the Soviet Union, Sweden and Poland.
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.”