Signed Neil Armstrong painting on display at OMA

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Paul Calle, The Great Moment, ca. 1969, oil on Masonite, 48 x 96 in., Gift of Dr. and Mrs. John J. McMullen.
ORLANDO, Fla. —

Currently on display at the Orlando Museum of Art is The Great Moment, a painting of American hero Neil Armstrong by Paul Calle, commemorating Neil Armstrong's historic first manned lunar landing.  Mr. Armstrong died on August 25, 2012 at the age of 82 years. Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon July 20, 1969. His first words after setting foot on the surface are etched in history books and the memories of those who heard them in a live broadcast. "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," Mr. Armstrong said.

American artist Paul Calle had been one of five original artists selected by NASA to document the United States' attempt to land a man on the moon in the late 1960s.  Other artists included Bob McCall, Lamar Dodd and Peter Hurd. Calle was the only artist who was with Armstrong in the hours prior to the launch. Calle had already created a painting of the historic event that was reproduced as a stamp and released by the Post Office on the date that Armstrong set foot on the moon.

When Calle completed "The Great Moment" Neil Armstrong signed the painting at the lower left near the lunar landing module leg.  This is very unusual as Armstrong is on record many times refusing to sign anything that might enhance the commercial value of any product or service.  He even refused to sign the lithographs of this painting.  Hanson Mulford, Curator of the Orlando Museum of Art stated, "It is very rare to find anything such as this with Armstrong's signature."