Son of Kyosti Kallio, a popular Finnish president, Kalervo Kallio studied art in Helsinki, Paris, and Rome. He gained early recognition for his portrait busts, including one of Jean Sibelius, the great Finnish composer of “Finlandia” and other tone poems on national subjects.
Kallio came to the United States in 1949. That year he won an international sculpture competition for a memorial bust of James Forrestal, the nation’s first secretary of defense, for placement in the new military headquarters building, the Pentagon. Washington, D.C., became Kallio’s permanent address. Alben Barkley and a host of American notables sat for him, including former Presidents Herbert Hoover and Harry S. Truman, scientist Albert Einstein, and labor leader John L. Lewis. Praising Kallio’s talent for producing dramatic likenesses, Time magazine wrote of the sculptor in 1951: “Petrified history, not self-expression, is his province, and he commands it well.” 
In 1957 the Senate formally commissioned a portrait bust of Barkley for the Vice Presidential Bust Collection. When the bust was unveiled on April 29, 1958, Lyndon Johnson, then Senate majority leader, spoke in remembrance of “The Veep.” His words also might have applied to the artist who commemorated the vice president. Said Johnson, “He had the rare gift of looking into the heart of his fellowmen.”
1. ”Knife, Bayonet, Chisel,” Time, 12 February 1951, 73.
2. ”Marble Bust of Barkley Unveiled in Capitol Rite,” Washington, D.C. Evening Star, 30 April 1958.