Injecting painterly style into science fiction art.
July 5, 1935 – April 8, 2010
John Schoenherr eschewed a strictly realist approach to science fiction illustration in favor of a more painterly style that blended organic landscapes, elegant technology, and convincing aliens. He is best known for his covers and interior art for Frank Herbert’s Dune series.
A graduate of the Pratt Institute, Schoenherr began illustrating for science fiction professionally in 1956, making his debut in Amazing Stories. He created 75 covers for Astounding/Analog from the 1960s to the 1980s, painting covers for, among others, Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonrider, as well as for stories by Frederik Pohl, Gordon R. Dickson, and Clifford D. Simak. Schoenherr also painted for paperback publishers, including Ace Books and Pyramid, lending his talents to Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and Harry Harrison’s The Stainless Steel Rat.
His covers for the serialization of Frank Herbert’s Dune saga in Analog magazine, beginning with Dune World in 1963, are especially notable. Prophet of Dune followed in 1965, earning Schoenherr a Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist. Later in his career, Schoenherr turned to wildlife and children’s book illustration. In 1988 he won a Caldecott Medal for his work in Owl Moon by Jane Yolen.