Born and trained in London, Van Raalte emigrated to Western Australia for health reasons. Teacher, examiner in art for the University of Western Australia, and Curator of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, he moved to Adelaide to become Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia from 1922 to 1926. During his time as Director he developed the Print Collection, reporting that 2,500 prints were then in the working catalogue. Following disagreement with the Board of the Art Gallery, Van Raalte resigned in 1926, retiring to live at Second Valley, where he committed suicide in 1929.
Considered to be one of the best printmakers of his time, Van Raalte's principal subjects were bush landscapes, dominated by giant gum trees, sometimes with human figures. He experimented with photography, and became involved with complex methods of creating colour aquatints.
CALM MORNING, undated, shows Van Raalte's poetic quality, where romantic overtones combine with technical excellence. Curving strokes producing an atmosphere of serenity are combined with dramatic light effects, evoking dual moods of landscape, and perhaps even a reflection of the varying moods in the artist's own character.