Schneeman, Charles

Tagged: Art

(1912-1972) American artist. After artistic training at the Pratt School of Art and Design and Grand Central School of Art, he began doing interior illustrations and occasional covers for John W Campbell, Jr's Astounding Science-Fiction in the late 1930s. It is his interior illustrations that are best remembered, particularly those that accompanied Jack Williamson's The Legion of Time (May-July 1938 Astounding; rev 1952) and E E "Doc" Smith's Gray Lensman (October 1939-January 1940 Astounding; 1951). One drawing in particular, showing Smith's Kimball Kinnison walking alongside his strange Alien allies, is frequently reprinted and was described in Brian W Aldiss's Science Fiction Art (1975) as "one of the most famous of all sf illustrations." But his infrequent covers could be memorable as well. Two of these were astronomical paintings: for the April 1939 issue of Astounding Science-Fiction, he painted a scene of Saturn observed on one of its moons that anticipated later works by Chesley Bonestell, while his cover for the November 1952 issue shows Earth being devastated by atomic explosions as seen from the Moon. Another cover, for the May 1938 issue, effectively illustrated The Legion of Time (May-July 1938 Astounding; cut 1961) with a beautiful blonde woman on a floating shell, an image also depicted in his interior illustrations.

Schneeman's career was interrupted by military service during World War Two, and while he did return to Astounding, he also moved to Los Angeles and, after 1950, focused almost exclusively on illustrations for newspapers. After his death in 1972, his papers and artwork were donated to the library of the University of California, Davis, which then staged an exhibition of his works. [JG/PN/GW]

Charles E J Schneeman Jr

born New York: 24 November 1912

died Pasadena, California: 1 January 1972

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