Rogers, Hubert

Tagged: Art

(1898-1982) Canadian artist who studied art at Toronto Technical School before military service in World War I, then continued his training at other institutions, including the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1925, he began his professional career in New York, doing illustrations for newspapers, painting book covers, and painting covers for Pulp magazines like Adventure and The Argosy.

Rogers entered sf publishing with a cover painting for Astounding Science-Fiction in 1939 and went to provide the magazine with numerous covers and interior illustrations until 1952. He and William Timmins dominated the covers of Astounding during the 1940s, a period when his serious, sombre style gave the magazine something of the dignity John W Campbell Jr craved, to contrast with the more garish covers of his magazine's competitors. His first noteworthy cover, for the October 1939 issue, illustrated E E "Doc" Smith's Gray Lensman (October 1939-January 1940 Astounding; 1951) with what was quickly acknowledged as a definitive portrayal of E E "Doc" Smith's heroic Kimball Kinnison, an image of a handsome figure with his hands on his waist that has been frequently reprinted. Another standout cover for the May 1947 issue, illustrating "Fury" by Lawrence O'Donnell (Henry Kuttner and C L Moore), is often regarded as one of the best covers ever put on an sf magazine, as dignified figures are dwarfed by an enormous monument to the destroyed planet Earth. Other efforts that have been praised include his cover for the May 1940 issue, illustrating Norman L Knight's "Crisis in Utopia" (July-August 1940 Astounding) with a pair of eerie underwater figures, and his cover for the November 1948 issue, a striking split image straddled by a man's face to illustrate A E van Vogt's The Players of Null-A (October 1948-January 1949 Astounding; as The Pawns of Null-A 1956; rev as The Players of Null-A 1966). His covers for three Robert A Heinlein books from Shasta Publishers, however, are surprisingly nondescript.

Rogers's sf career was interrupted when he moved to Canada in 1942 in order to contribute to the war effort; while he returned to sf art in 1947, he also began building a second reputation as one of Canada's leading portrait painters, leading him to effectively abandon sf in 1953. He has not been forgotten, though, since some of his art has recently reappeared on the covers of new editions of the sf classics he illustrated in the 1940s. [JG/PN/GW]

Reginald Hubert Rogers

born Alberton, Prince Edward Island, Canada: 21 December 1898

died Ottawa, Ontario: 12 May 1982

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