SEATTLE, Aug. 4, 2009--Paul Calle was one of the first eight artists chosen by NASA in 1962 to document the American space program's Project Mercury. Calle continued to illustrate space exploration for the next 40 years. The artist and his son Chris Calle will be at the Museum to talk about NASA art and the Apollo missions in a public program in the William M. Allen Theater on August 29 at 2 p.m. The presentation draws from Calle's new book, "Celebrating Apollo 11 - The Artwork of Paul Calle." The Calles will field questions from the audience and be available for book signings after the program. The presentation is free to Museum members or with admission to the Museum. The book is available at the Museum Store.
Since July 1 the Museum has featured his exhibit "Apollo 11: An Artist's Perspective - Original Sketches from NASA Artist Paul Calle," which continues through September 7. The Calle exhibit at the Museum features sketches and other works by Calle from the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, local collectors and from the artist's personal collection. For more information and images see: http://www.museumofflight.org/exhibits/paulcalle_apollo11
In 1962 NASA chose Paul Calle to participate in the newly established NASA Art Program. The purpose of the program was to record the history of space exploration through the eyes of artists. Beginning with Gordon Cooper's Project Mercury flight in May 1963, Calle has documented the action surrounding Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle flights. His assignments took him from launch facilities of Cape Kennedy, Florida to aircraft carriers during spacecraft recovery missions in the South Atlantic-before the Space Shuttle, American spacecraft returned to Earth with "splashdown" landings in the ocean.
Calle was the only artist to be with the Apollo 11 crew as they prepared for their historic Moon launch at Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969. NASA had asked artist Calle to document the activities of the Apollo 11 astronauts in the hours before their launch so that the record of the historic event would be as complete as possible. The assignment meant he had to adhere to the strict quarantine procedures required of everyone having personal contact with the crew. The on-the-spot drawings produced by Calle vividly document these crucial moments before the launch. Calle's Apollo 11 artworks were shown at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., in November 1969, and later displayed in the National Air and Space Museum. For the following years, the Smithsonian Institution circulated these drawings to many galleries and museums around the nation.
Calle's illustrations have also been featured on 30 U.S. postal stamps depicting a variety of American historical figures and events. His work can be found in both corporate and private collections and in the collections of NASA, the National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the U.S. Department of the Interior. He lives in Connecticut.
Image: Calle sketch of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong. Image courtesy Paul Calle.