History of Space Art

Dreams of Space

"Henry Billings, was born July 13, 1901, in Bronxville, NY; lived in New York City; and died in 1987. Studied: Art Students League (ASL). Member: National Society of Mural Painters; Mural Artists Guild; American Society of Painters, Sculptors & Engravers. Exhibited: Midtown Gallery, 1946 (one-man); National Academy of Design; Whitney Museum of American Art (WMAA); 1939 New York World's Fair. Works: WMAA; Music Hall NY; USPOs in Lake Placid and Wappinger Falls, NY and Medford, MA. Position: Instructor, ASL, 1940-41; Instructor, Bard College." (from GSA website)

"Chesley Bonestell, architect, artist, astronomer, now lends his talents to Hollywood. His background in astronomy began when at ten he read Laplace's nebular hypothesis. After World War I he worked as a special artist on the Illustrated London News and on London evening papers. He returned to the United States in 1927 and worked for some years in New York and San Francisco as an architectural artist. His paintings have appeared in Life, Coronet, Collier's, and other magazines" (from book jacket The Conquest of Space).

Bonestell Space Art

Link to Biography by Frederick Durant III


The Chesley Bonestell Archives

"Jack Coggins was born in London and came to the United States while still a child. After studying at the Grand Central School of Art and the Art Students League in New York, he devoted most of his time to marine painting. During World War II he did many illustrations for Life magazine, as well as many commercial clients. From 1943 until the end of the war he served as a U.S. Army correspondent in Europe. Then, in the 1950s, he executed covers for science-fiction magazines, most notably Galaxy and Fantasy and Science Fiction. In 1951 and 1952, Coggins collaborated with the late Fletcher Pratt on two classic books, Rockets, Jets, Guided Missiles and Space Ships and By Spaceship to the Moon (both published by Random House). The books were released amidst the great wave of national interest in space travel that swept the country in the 1950s. Like the Collier's magazine series on space travel, the two books made the prospect of space exploration seem a very practical possibility, and there are many space scientists today who retain fond memories of the influence these books had on their careers." (from Space Art. Ron Miller. p. 176. 1978. reproduced with permission).

The Space Art of Jack Coggins

Jack Coggins Family Website

"Beatrice Darwin was born in Boston and studied at the Massachusetts School of Art for four years. She had further art training in Sweden, then returned to Boston to begin free-lance work. She now lives in California with her artist husband and their two children."(from book jacket).

"Fred Freeman, who designed and drew the 120 illustrations for First Men to the Moon is one of the county's best-known technical artists. A member of the original space symposium which included Wernher von Braun, Mr. Freeman has worked closely with the author on the preparation of this book to achieve meaningful coordination of drawings and text. Mr. Freeman's work has appeared in This Week, Collier's, The Saturday Evening Post, and other magazines and books." (from the book jacket).

"Erich Fuchs is a distinguished German artist. His work has been exhibited in Paris, Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, and Baden-Baden. Besides painting, picture books for children are his special love. Erich Fuchs, who works mainly at night, lives in Stuttgart with his wife, who is a weaver, and two children." (from book jacket).

"Clifford Geary grew up around Boston and later received his art education at Massachusetts School of Art. He is the illustrator of the well-known Robert Heinlein series Space Cadet, Red Planet, etc. He now lives in Brooklyn and also has a farm in the Adirondacks." (from author information in Flight: Today and Tomorrow, 1953).

" James Heugh is from Philadelphia, where he attended The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. While there he was awarded the annual Cresson Traveling Fellowship that provided an opportunity to study art in Europe before the devastation of WWII. After returning he married Frances Cowan, also a Cresson winning artist. They later moved to a stone country farmhouse in nearby Chester County where they raised a family. Broad and varied, James Heugh's lifetime body of art and illustration overflows categorys. He won professional recognition with the top award from the Philadelphia Artist's Guild for a speeding locomotive illustration. Other work included: landscapes, portraiture, still lifes, graphic design, commercial advertising art and book illustrations. His space exploration scenes, both as promotional advertising art and book illustrations, represent the best of his technical skill, personal pride, and imagination. Now in retirement from the commercial art world James is resettled in Pinehurst North Carolina where he and Frances continue their prize winning work - for pleasure: Frances' Genre and landscape paintings, and James' wildlife and figurative sculptures. Additionally, James is an avid and creative gardener."

"William A. Kocher studied at the Maryland Institute of Art and was for eight years a scientific illustrator with the Martin Company. Now he, his wife, and their four daughters live in a suburb of Philadelphia, where Mr. Kocher is a staff artist for a scientific research organization." (from author information in Stations in Space, 1960).

"Denny McMains specializes in aviation and space illustration. He has illustrated several books in this area, including The Story of Aviation and Planes That Made History. For the Golden Book Encyclopedia, he provided the illustrations for the sections on rockets, aviation, and space. Mr McMains has made aviation his hobby since boyhood, when he constructed model airplanes and studied their technical design. Born in Pennsylvania, he now lives in New York City." (From book jacket.)

"Robert Patterson. After studying at art at the Chicago Art Institute and in Paris, Robert Patterson began his career as a cartoonist for Judge and Life, and on the staff of French Vogue. He has done illustrations for some dozen magazines, for advertising and other media and for numerous books, and is a portrait painter as well. He edited, as well as illustrated, ON OUR WAY, a book for teenagers. With his wife and son and daughter, Mr. Patterson lives in Easton, Connecticut." (from book jacket.)

"Ludek Pesek was born in 1919 and is a citizen of Switzerland. He attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. He became interested in astronomy and space art at the age of 19, inspired by a telescope at school and a book by Lucien Rudaux. He first produced his own work at that time, and his first publications were The Moon and Planets (1963) and Our Planet Earth (1967). He thinks of himself as both illustrator and fine artist. His work first reached US readers through the National Geographic Magazine. Previous to the Mars article he had painted 15 scenes for an article called 'Journey to the Planets' in August 1970. In 1967 Ludek wrote his first science-fiction novel, "Log of a Moon Expedition" which he illustrated in black and white. Another, "The Earth Is Near" won Prize of Honour in Germany in 1971. It was published in the UK and USA in 1974. He illustrated Space Shuttles in 1976. He worked with writer Peter Ryan on several slim books for children: Journey to the Planets (1972), Planet Earth (1972), The Ocean World (1973) and UFOs and Other Worlds, (1975); he later worked with the same author on the large-format Solar System (1978). He also illustrated the excellent Bildatlas des Sonnensystems (1974), with German text by Bruno Stanek. His other publications include a photographic record of Lebanon's historical monuments and natural beauties, and several other novels; one, Prey der Beute (Price of a Prey), is about the lives of whalers from old times to the present. From 1981 to 1985 he produced a series of 35 paintings on 'The Planet Mars', of which two are reproduced here, and a series of 50 paintings, 'Virgin Forests in the USA' one of which can be seen on the Earth page. He has produced several 360-degree panoramas for projection in the domes of planeuriums at Stuttgart, Winnipeg and Lucerne, and has exhibited in Washington, DC, Boston, Nashville, Stuttgart, Berne, Lucerne, Zurich, and other venues. His work is in the collection of the Smithson Institution. He lives and works in Stäfa, Switzerland." biography from Ludek Pesek's website:

"Peter P. Plasencia is a native New Yorker. He is married and has one daughter, Regina. He majored in industrial design at Pratt Institute, studied at the Meschini Institute in Rome, and at the Art Students League in New York. Mr. Plasencia is now head of his own design house. Among the children's books he has illustrated are In The Deep Blue Sea, Magic Mixtures: Alloys and Plastics, and The Chemistry of a Lemon, all published by Prentice-Hall." (From book jacket).

"John Polgreen lives in Dobbs Ferry, New York. He has illustrated stories in many magazines including the Saturday Evening Post. He has also illustrated The Sky Observer's Guide and The Golden Book of Astronomy. His hobbies are astronomy, photography, and ship models." (from book jacket, Space Flight (1959).

"Robert Quackenbush was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and studied at the Art Center School in Los Angeles and now lives in New York City. This gifted young artist is known in the art world for the variety and individuality of his work. His illustrations for children's books exude a vitality to which children warm. Among his Lothrop Press books are: If I Drove a Truck, Billy and Milly, and Mrs. Herring" (from book jacket).

"Ralph A. Smith was born in Brentwood, Essex, England and educated at Ealing County School. After being apprenticed to the aircraft industry, he was engaged for a time in architectural and decorative design. He served later as a director of an experimental engineering firm and then took part in the development of talking film soundheads and television. During the war he worked on the early development of production radar and was responsible for the equipment and design of an important shadow factory. Since the age of twelve Mr. Smith has been mainly interested in the problem of space flight. He joined the British Interplanetary Society in 1937 and has been a member of the council ever since. In the field of astronautics he is well known for his graphic and convincing drawings of spaceflight themes. The realistic impression of these drawings is founded on Mr. Smith's close study of the subject over a long period, and on solid practical experience during the last seven years as a designer at a Ministry of Supply Rocket Research Establishment." (From The Exploration of the Moon bookjacket, 1954)

"George Solonevich has illustrated many books. Among them are The Golden Stamp Book of Atomic Energy, The Golden Stamp Book of Space Travel, and The Moon, all of which were written by Otto Binder. He has also done advertising art in both Europe and America. He is now living in Roanoke, Virginia." (from the book jacket)

"Helmut Karl Wimmer is the Art Supervisor of the American Museum-Hayden Planetarium. His works have appeared in many planetariums, museums, and scores of publications. Wimmer was born in Munich, Germany, in 1925, and was apprenticed at the age of fourteen to train as a sculptor and architectural model maker. At eighteen he was in the army and served with the Alpine troops. At the end of World War II, Wimmer was captured by Czech partisans and turned over to the Russians as a prisoner of war. In 1949, Wimmer was released and returned to Munich where he found work as a sculptor. In 1954, he decided to emigrate to the United States. Once in New York, a chance recommendation led him to an opening in the Art Department of the Hayden Planetarium. Besides illustrating planetarium shows, his works have been seen in numerous publications, including, Natural History, Smithsonian, Reader's Digest, and The New York Times. He is best known for his paintings for a series of astronomy books for young people by Dr. Franklin M. Branley, published by T.Y. Crowell."(from Space Art. Ron Miller. page 181. 1978. reproduced with permission)