Chesley Bonestell

Creator of photo-realistic depictions of space exploration.

January 1, 1888 – June 11, 1986

Chesley Bonestell's photo-realistic art presented space exploration not as some far-off dream but as a real and possible undertaking. It can be argued that his work helped usher in the Space Age.

Bonestell began his career as an architectural artist. In 1938 he moved to special effects, creating matte paintings for films such as Destination Moon (1950) and War of the Worlds (1953). From 1947 onward his paintings were used as cover illustrations for Astounding and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

He paid great attention to perspective and scale in conformity with the scientific knowledge of the day. During this time, Bonestell created what is arguably the most famous space painting, Saturn as Seen from Titan (1944), which has been credited with inspiring the careers of countless scientists and artists.

Bonestell received a Special Achievement Hugo Award and was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame. The Chesley Award for achievement in science fiction and fantasy art is named for him.

2005 Inductee