Richard M. Powers
Exploring surrealism and abstraction in science fiction art.
February 24, 1921 – March 9, 1996
In the early 1950s, Richard M. Powers' paintings forever changed the look of science fiction away from naturalistic dashing spacemen, bug-eyed aliens, and brass bra babes typical in contemporary science fiction novels toward surrealism and abstraction.
Over the course of his career, Powers created over 1,500 cover and interior illustrations, with more than 800 in the science fiction genre. Powers first began designing book covers in 1948 with a hardcover of Gulliver’s Travels for World Publishing Company.
In 1950 he created his first hardcover science fiction work for Doubleday, which began his 20 years as Doubleday’s main cover artist. In 1953 he painted the cover of Star Science Fiction for Ballantine Books and soon after became the unofficial art director for Ballantine Books.
Powers also illustrated children’s books and exhibited his fine art at top venues including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Corcoran Gallery.