Born in Aigues Vives in 1920. Bob Calle, collector, amateur, actor of the art world from 1960 to 2015, had several passions including medicine, Arts, and books. His passion for art developed during his medical studies in Paris, where he became friends with the important artists of his generation.

 

Medecine

He is an eminent cancer surgeon at the Pierre and Marie Curie Hospital, and became its director from 1973 to 1986.

Bob Calle, © Tony Castiglioni, 2014
Bob Calle, © Tony Castiglioni, 2014

The Parisian art scene

from left to right: Buren, Sophie and Bob Calle.
from left to right: Buren, Sophie and Bob Calle.

As soon as he arrived in Paris in the 1950s, he became a close friend of Arman, César, Jacquet, Hains, Martial Raysse, Rotella, Matta and Quentin.

His sensitivity to contemporary art and his passion for collection are growing. He receives gifts from his friends, buys, exchanges, discovers and quickly becomes a renowned collector of Parisian galleries (Mrs. Sonnabend, Iolas, Denise René, Fournier, Marian Goodman, Yvon Lambert, Daniel Templon and many others ... ).

Precursor, he presents works from his friends in the corridors of the Curie Hospital and places at their disposal a disused chapel, owned by the hospital. This space becomes a temporary museum from 1982 to 1984, entitled À Pierre et Marie, une exposition en travaux.

The Nîmes Museum of Contemporary Art Carré d’Art - Jean Bousquet

It is at the request of his friend Jean Bousquet, that he creates the Carré d'Art Museum, nowadays named Carré d'Art - Jean Bousquet. In 1986, as part of the prefiguration of the future museum, he took the direction of the contemporary section and organized with Jean Bousquet the architectural competition, won by Norman Foster.

In six years, he created a documentation center and organized seventy exhibitions, some of them masterful, such as the monograph of Robert Filliou (1990-91) or that of James Turrell (1989) at the Musée des Beaux-Arts. He initiate a collection of about 300 works including those of Klein, Barcelo, Polke and Richter, this collection having enriched itself with 100 donations that it obtained. He defines the orientation of the permanent collection, with the bias to enhance on the French artistic scene from the 60s to today, with a marked interest in New Realism, Support-Surface, Free Figuration, and a Mediterranean identity. He chose as a successor Guy Tosatto with whom he produce the inaugural exhibition L’Ivresse du Réel. 

Passion for books

Bob, forerunner and committed, wished at the inauguration of Carré d'Art to exhibit a set of book-objects published by François Di Dio, Le Soleil Noir, from which he had acquired all the publications.

The Christian Boltanski's catalog raisonné

From 1995 to 2011, he takes care of the Archives of Christian Boltanski. In 2008, he published a book Christian Boltanski, artist books 1967-2007, a reasoned catalog artist's books of this artist. In 2009 he finished the inventory of his works, and published the first volume, Archives 01 Christian Boltanski, Éditions 591.

At the end of his life, surrounded by a considerable library, he dreamed of opening a bookshop, a dream which he had no time to achieve.

Bob Calle. © Julia de la Rosa
Bob Calle. © Julia de la Rosa