Calyxte Campe


b. 1972

Calyxte was born in Germany and aged four embarked on a sailing trip around the world with his family which lasted eight years. During these years on the 48 ft schooner the family travelled to 55 countries, living with the tribes in the Amazon rainforest and exploring remote and wild places. Living amongst the Galapagos wildlife, the Buddhist monks and Alaskan forests for months on end gave Calyxte fertile grounds for his creativity and love for nature to grow on.

Calyxte always knew he wanted to sculpt and paint and visits to Europe from the boat trip would be spent in the family home in France surrounded by the works of Camille Claudel his great aunt.

When the boat trip came to an end Calyxte went to school in the Swiss Alps and then University in Vermont USA, followed by his formal training as a painter and sculptor at Charles Cecil Studios in Florence where he went on to teach and instruct others.

His first commission came from the Rockefeller family in New York, which through word of mouth led him to spend the next 9 years working in America completing commissions in bronze and oil of both portraits and landscapes.

These years, mainly spent in NYC, were a contrast to Calyxte’s childhood experience and it wasn’t until he moved back to Tuscany and rented a farmhouse down a long dirt track with a large stone barn as a studio when he began to fully discover his talent as an animal sculptor working always from life.  Perhaps his childhood so immersed in the natural world has given him a unique ability to communicate with animals and he has an extraordinary ability to make anything pose whilst he works at tremendous speed and with incredible accuracy alongside.  Whilst Calyxte’s work is sensitive to every muscle and movement of its subject, it also retains a looseness of marks giving the final piece a sympathetic and evocative roughness. He won’t leave a finished clay to the foundry, but rather works on every stage of the bronzing process himself to ensure the result is as he had intended and finds this and the patination integral to the success of a finished piece.

Calyxte held regular exhibitions in NYC and Switzerland and has his work on permanent display at the Urs Von Unger Gallery in Gstaad. Soon the stone barn was no longer big enough and after taking over a warehouse in his local town he recently completed two life-size bronze Moose for a private estate in Jackson-Hole Wyoming and another for a ski resort in Alaska.

His last instalment was of three life size Snow Geese on the roundabout of Cologny in Geneva.  At home he continues to work on large life size animals, a wild boar and red dear among others.  Calyxte lives between Tuscany, Switzerland and Dorset, with his wife Decima, also an artist, and three small boys.