Paul Calle

Paul Calle’s interest in Space Art dates to his early years as an illustrator painting covers for such Science Fiction magazines as Galaxy and Amazing Stories.  In the 1950’s these magazines told of far away galaxies and space travel that at the time seemed light years away.  In October of 1958 the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was created “to provide for research into the problems of flight within and outside the earth’s atmosphere”.   The reality of the Space Age had arrived.


In 1962 Paul Calle was chosen as one of the first eight artists of the newly established NASA Art Program.  The purpose of the program was to record for history, 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 from the launch facilities of Cape Kennedy to the aircraft carriers in the South Atlantic.

Paul Calle was the only artist to be with the Apollo 11 crew as they prepared for the launch at Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969, the morning of the historic launch.  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.  he agreed, though it meant adhering to strict quarantine procedures required of all having personal contact with the crew.  The on-the-spot drawings produced by Calle are a documentary record of the final moments on Earth of three men before they made world history.  Calle completed this assignment and the work was shown at the National Gallery of Art in Washington , DC in November 1969, then 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.  They are now part of the National Air and Space Museum’s collection.

In 1974 Calle accompanied the Apollo/Soyuz US astronaut crews to Russia to document  their training in the Soviet Union with the Soyuz cosmonauts. 

In paint and pencil, his artwork and the artwork of all the artists who have been a part of the NASA Art Program, is a historic documentary of the events and people associated with mans exploration of the world beyond ours....Space.

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