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The Art of Chesley Bonestell Hardcover – April, 2001

4.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Paper Tiger offers collections of work by two late, great fantasy illustrators. The Art of Chesley Bonestell, by Ron Miller and Frederick C. Durante, with a foreword by Sir Arthur C. Clarke, showcases more than 300 drawings by the renowned architect and space artist, from illustrations of the chief engineer's plans for the Golden Gate Bridge (for the benefit of funders); to his favorite among his paintings, The Engulfed Cathedral A Fantasy; to his pre-space-travel lunar and Martian landscapes for magazines like Galaxy and Astounding.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Unless you are an experienced astronaut, your conception of outer space has probably been influenced by Chesley Bonestell's superrealist paintings of other-planetary scenes, which caused a sensation when Life first published some of them in 1944. His vivid imaginings, which Miller aptly characterizes as "snapshots taken by a space-traveling National Geographic photographer," subsequently appeared in other magazines, were collected into books and exhibited at museums and planetariums, and were used as the visual basis for several 1950s science fiction movies. Although Bonestell's renown stems entirely from his space art, the book's biographical essay reveals that he honed his precise style doing architectural renderings early in the century and that he created matte paintings used as backgrounds in several major movies, including Citizen Kane. More than 300 of Bonestell's works appear in the book, and if fewer but larger reproductions might have shown his art to better advantage, the opportunity the book affords to rediscover this influential artist, whose success has been credited with stoking public support for the U.S. space program, outweighs that quibble. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Series: Paper Tiger
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Paper Tiger (April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1855858843
  • ISBN-13: 978-1855858848
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 9.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #318,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steve Rogers on April 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you enjoy space concepts and illustrations from the 50's and 60's, then this book is a must-have. If you're a baby-boomer, then chances are your vision of what exploration should look like was created by Chesley Bonestell. Once you've seen one of his paintings, the moon just doesn't look right anymore.
This book is a great value. You'd have to collect dozens of out-of-print books to come close to the images collected in this one volume. In addition to the art reproductions, the story of Bonestell's life is well written and illustrated. He is a fascinating character in his own right, apart from his art. This book has the clear signs of a work done by authors who love their subject and know it well. If you have a soft spot for the romance of space, this book will go to the top of your list.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you were about 10 years old in 1950, there was very likely a moment of absolute epiphany in your young life. In my case it occurred in the Junior High library in about 1950. From the shelf I pulled a large dark blue book about 8 by 11 inches in size. Even the end-papers were stunning, color plates of the surfaces of Mercury and Jupiter. But, thumbing through, I actually began to tremble when I got to facing pages 132 and 133! It is safe to say I have never recovered from the sight. I now have two copies of this book, one at home which I purchased in about 1951 and one in my office, which I purchased a few years ago. It was THE CONQUEST OF SPACE, by Chelsey Bonestell and Willy Ley.
Who was this incredible artist, Chelsey Bonestell? Although I collected books illustrated by Bonestell throughout the 1950s and 1960s, I knew little about him personally until I found a trade paperback about him in the late 1970s or early 1980s, which gave a broad overview of his life and work.
The present book is a greatly expanded version of that earlier work, 256 pages versus 133 in the trade paperback. Since that paperback came out, both Chelsey and his wife have died, but I think it is safe to say Chelsey's work is more appreciated than ever. Here you'll learn of his childhood, his work as an architectural renderer and movie matte painter, and his entry into space art at an age when most men are thinking of retirement. Chesley lived to be nearly a hundred, and was able to compare many of his painted visions of other worlds to actual photos taken by astronauts and robots. But none of these photos have the incredible artistic validity of Chelsey's own vision. As many have commented, where Chesley's vision disagrees with reality, it is generally Chesley's vision which is the better.
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By A Customer on March 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am among the hundreds of thousands -- perhaps millions -- of people who owe their lifelong interest in matters of astronomy and space science to a childhood discovery of the art of Chesley Bonestell. I remember vividly pawing through the pages of <I>The Conquest of Space</I> at the age of about ten, my mouth open as I saw the marvels of the universe displayed.

It was thus actually rather nerve-racking when I opened this new book for the first time. Could the reality of his art possibly match my childhood memories? Could all of that vividness and excitement have been magnified in my mind's eye over the succeeding decades? Was I in for a disappointment?

I most certainly was not. If anything, the fabulous art inspired and excited me even more than it had way back then.

And there's a lot of that art here -- a real feast of it, superbly reproduced. And I discovered as I kept turning the pages, hands quite literally trembling as I discovered treasure after treasure. Even more excitingly, I found that Bonestell had worked in areas of art I'd never suspected before: fabulous landscapes, stunning sketches ... I have perused many, many art books, but I've never before reacted quite as strongly as to this one.

And it gets better. There's a long, beautifully written and utterly fascinating illustrated biography of Bonestell written by Ron Miller. It's almost as if one's getting two books in one.

An earlier reviewer (who cannot spell "Chesley") talked of this as if it were an expanded version of <I>The Conquest of Space</I>. He was talking through his hat.
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Format: Hardcover
"The Art of Chesley Bonestell" is an extremely high quality Science Fiction art collection that comes around once in a decade or two. The last Chesley Bonestell collection of this calibere, "Worlds Beyond: The Art of Chesley Bonestell", was published in 1983. Chesley Bonestell's art goes back to the golden age of Science Fiction of the late 1940's, 1950's and 1960's. His work was displayed on the covers of SF periodical magazines, SF paperback books, and Space Science books of that era. His style is realistic and his work is breathtaking! His concepts of other-worldly-visions are naturally realistic and have a Zen-like feeling of mystery to them. The color plates in this book are of awesome quality. I guarantee this book will increase in price, as the 1983 collection has. The 1983, "Worlds Beyond: The Art of Chesley Bonestell", sells for around $100 or more. Buy this 2001 book, "The Art of Chesley Bonestell" now, because it will only cost MUCH more after it goes out of print.
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