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Calyxte Campe

Working from life allows me to carry and have a greater impact at a distance. Working with people, animal and scenery under natural life, never from photographs, I find myself with an infinite source of inspiration. I use the constant variety and change in nature to bring life to my work.

Calyxte was born on September 4, 1972, in Munich, Germany. His childhood was spent sailing around the world on a 50ft schooner with his parents, sister, two brothers and tutor. The trip, which lasted 8 years, was filmed by his father and broadcast in Germany from 1977 to 1984. “ Weltumsegelung mit Familie” was the first reality TV show. From a young age Calyxte knew he would sculpt and paint. His great grandfather was the jeweler Pierre Cartier. Growing up he was surrounded by the sculptures of his great-aunt Camille Claudel; he follows the tradition working in a similar classic style.

As a portrait and animal sculptor, Calyxte works exclusively from life, sculpting in clay side by side with his subject, giving his work life, energy and accuracy. He completes portrait commissions worldwide for both private and public collections. A childhood spent on a boat means that home for Calyxte is all over the world. He, his wife Decima Cardozo and four boys, divide the year between Tuscany, Switzerland and Brazil. In Tuscany he lives in the countryside near Florence where he can source his marble form the ancient quarries of Carrara. He completes his marble projects in his studio, a big old stone barn next to the farmhouse where he lives. He also casts in bronze, in Florence his clay sculptures. The casting is as crucial for Calyxte as the sculpting. He works in the wax and then in the bronze, making many subtle but important adjustments before creating the patina. He works on private commissions for families based in Geneva and having spent five years at Aiglon boarding school in Villars, he feels very much at home in Switzerland.

For the last ten years Calyxte has spent part of his winter in Gstaad, painting snowscapes from life and sculpting the Alpine wildlife. He has exhibited several times and has work permanently on show at Gallery “Urs Von Unger”. Every January in Brazil the family live on their farm two hours north of Rio where they ride, paint and sculpt. Calyxte uses the arab horses among other animals as models, living with them and getting them to pose for him. Calyxte makes frequent trips to NYC to exhibit and complete commissions.

His work is part of the permanent collection of the Dana Centre, Washington DC and V&A, London. He has had solo exhibitions in NYC, London, Geneva and Gstaad.