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 Alan Bean  (1932 - )

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Lived/Active: Texas      Known for: space images and landscape painting

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Driving the Double Core Tube
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
This review on is from: Painting Apollo: First Artist on Another World (Hardcover)
..Van Gogh 'Starry Night' 1889
..Klee 'Moonrise' 1915
..Ernst 'Petrified City' 1935
..Pollack 'Moon Woman' 1942
.. Chagal 'Blue Circus' 1950

Many an artist has been inspired by the moon hanging silently overhead.  But one artist has a unique perspective on this eternal muse.  Alan Bean has walked on it's ghostly landscape. Felt it's pull below his feet. Closed his eyes and felt it's sweet caress. Looked up to see the Earth hanging silently 230,000 miles overhead.

Al Bean was different from most of the other astronauts. They lived for speed and adventure. They liked to hunt or fine tune their sports cars. Bean liked to paint. Never mind that Florida Gold corvette he had. A happy joking gentleman renowned for toasting the Apollo 12 camera. He accidentally pointed it directly at the sun. The camera's delicate receptor tube fried instantly. Ruining it for the rest of us stuck down here. Then later he spent some 54 days up in skylab.

But he really wanted to paint. So paint he did. Realistic and imaginary scenes from various moon missions. Mostly his own (Apollo 12):

'Helping Hands'. He and Conrad dismantle some core tube. 'Home Sweet Home' a sweeping moonscape of the Ocean of Storms with moonlander. A moon self portrait showing himself loping across a crater. 'Houston, We Have a Problem' debris streaming away from the blast. A beautiful 'In Flight' showing Shepard driving a golf ball on the moon. I don't think it went quite that high. But a wonderful moon scape with lander, flag, and craters galore.

And indeed Bean proves to be quite an accomplished artist. His works posses a great feel about them. Good technique, good light adaption. Great color balance (well only he would know that for sure!).

Bean has added an angle to most of his paintings. He has ground up some space suit material and has incorporated it into the paint. The premise being that there is moon dust in the suit and therefore in the painting. He has been known to use a moon pick as one would use a palette knife. And he even imprints his moon boot sole onto the canvas primer. His art does have alot of texture

What can you say. If Pollack could leave his cigarette butts. Then why not moondust.

Biography from Conservation Design Inc:
Alan Bean—Apollo XII astronaut, commander of Skylab II and artist—was born in 1932 in Wheeler, Texas.  In 1950 he was selected for an NROTC scholarship at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1955, he was commissioned an ensign in the United States Navy.

Holder of eleven world records in space and astronautics, as well as numerous national and international honors, Alan Bean has had a most distinguished peacetime career. His awards include two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, the Yuri Gagarin Gold Medal and the Robert J. Collier Trophy. As part of the Apollo XII crew, he became the fourth of only twelve men ever to walk on the Moon. As the spacecraft commander of Skylab Mission II, he set a world record: 24,400,000 miles traveled during the 59-day flight. He has also launched himself successfully into a new career as an artist.

When he wasn’t flying, Bean always enjoyed painting as a hobby. Attending night classes at St. Mary’s College in Maryland in 1962, Alan experimented with landscapes. During training and between missions as a test pilot and astronaut, he continued private art lessons. On space voyages, his artist’s eye and talent enabled him to document impressions of the Moon and space to be preserved later on canvas. His art reflects the attention to detail of the aeronautical engineer, the respect for the unknown of the astronaut and the unabashed appreciation of a skilled painter.

The space program has seen unprecedented achievements and Bean realized that most of those who participated actively in this adventure would be gone in forty years. He knew that if any credible artistic impressions were to remain for future generations, he must paint them now. “My decision to resign from NASA in 1981 was based on the fact that I am fortunate enough to have seen sights no other artist ever has,” Bean said, “and I hope to communicate these experiences through art.”

Bean’s book Apollo: An Eyewitness Account, which chronicles his first-person experience as an Apollo astronaut in words and paintings was received with critical and popular acclaim upon its publication in 1998.

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