Paul Calle, American (1928 - 2010)

Paul Calle

Best known for his skill with pencil in detailed drawings of western art subjects, especially mountain men during the fur trade era, he 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 an 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 illustrated 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.

He lived in Stamford, Connecticut, and is the author of "The Pencil," recently into its sixth printing and first published in 1974.

Calle produced dozens of postage stamp designs, featuring such individuals as Douglas MacArthur and Robert Frost. He also produced Western-themed artworks that have been shown at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, as well as a 1981 stamp honoring Frederic Remington. His depictions of the American West have been included in the collections of the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma and at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia.

After doctors discovered that his melanoma had metastasized, he was placed on intravenous Ipilimumab, an experimental treatment being tested by Bristol-Myers Squibb that is meant to improve the response by the immune system to fight cancer. An initial course of treatment with the test drug combined with chemotherapy left no trace of the cancer in his body. A resident of Stamford, Connecticut, Calle died there at the age of 82 on December 30, 2010, of melanoma. He was survived by a daughter, two sons and six grandchildren. His wife Olga died in 2003; they had been married for more than 50 years.

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