Not everyone is an art collector, but you may have owned a piece of Paul Calle’s art without realizing it. The artist designed more than 40 U.S. postage stamps depicting iconic people and events and was best known for First Man on the Moon, the stamp commissioned by NASA to commemorate the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. This stamp design exceeded 150 million issues.
When Tim Peterson bought his very first piece of artwork as young man it was a Paul Calle print titled Something for the Pot and it marked the beginning of a lifelong relationship with the artist. In the years that followed his collection grew to include portrayals of Calle’s rugged mountain men, as well as a diverse selection of original paintings, sketches, illustrations and graphic designs by the artist.
The enduring friendship between the collector and the artist, and the inspiring space artwork, became the catalyst for Life of Exploration: From the Mountains to the Moon, a retrospective of Calle’s work. The exhibition was ingeniously timed to coincide with this year’s 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon and celebrates the career of an artist who illuminated the connections between frontiers. In this extraordinary presentation by Museum Trustee, Guest Curator, and renowned collector of Western and Native American art and artifacts, Tim Peterson shares the story of his relationship with the artist through images, insights, and personal recollections, revealing not only historic context but a shared legacy of exceptional art.
Artwork Credit: (Top) Paul Calle (1928-2010), Neil Armstrong Suiting Up, 1969, pen and ink; The Chris Calle Collection. (Bottom) Paul Calle (1928-2010), Something for the Pot II, oil on canvas; Courtesy The Peterson Family Collection.