Saturday, January 1, 2011

Deceased--Paul Calle

Paul Calle
March 3rd, 1928 to December 30th, 2010

"Paul Calle, Postage Stamp Designer, Is Dead at 82"


Margalit Fox

December 31st, 2010

The New York Times

Paul Calle, a commercial artist whose most famous work was no bigger than a postage stamp, died on Thursday 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.”

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