Friday, January 18, 2013

Robert McCall - Space Accomplishments

1992 US-USSR Space Accomplishments (Artmaster cachet w. McCall sketch)

Robert McCall (1919-2010) has done more than any other artist to enable the general public to envision the accomplishments of the American space program. His first illustrations were of Alan Shepard aboard his  Mercury space capsule, up to the launch of the Space Shuttle. His works are viewed by millions very year as part of the National Air and Space Museum displays in Washington, DC...

NASA invited many artists to capture history in the making and McCall was on site at the beginning of the US space program. Although photography was extensively utilized, NASA administrator James Webb first invited artist James Dean, in 1962 to create art inspired by the fledgling space program. The following year the first group of artists, which would reach about 350 artists, started recording the history of maned space flight. The list of artists includes Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol, Annie Leibovitz, Paul Calle, Robert Rauschenberg. The concept was that different artists would view the same subject in different ways the mind sees, feels and reacts, as stated by Dean... The art collection would grow to contain paintings, sketches, sculptures, poetry, dance and song. The majority of the collection are housed in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum...

McCall would also design several stamps for the USPS. His first stamp design for the USPS was the 1971 Decade of Achievement twin stamp issue. Others include the 1973 Pioneer Spacecraft, 1974 Skylab, 1975 Apollo-Soyuz, 1978 Viking Mission to Mars, 1981 Space Shuttle (pane of 8 stamps)...

McCall has also worked on Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Star Trek movies and Disney's The Black Hole...

I had written to McCall on several occasions to obtain an autograph on a space fdc, for which he signed and return. I was never lucky enough to have obtained a sketch on cover. When I found the above on E-Bay, I had to bid and feel very lucky to have this as part of my collection...

Issued May 29, 1992 in conjunction with the World Columbian Stamp Expo `92 the block of 4 stamps feature most of the significant moments of the previous 35 years of both the American and Russian space programs. The stamp above features a Russian cosmonaut and the US space shuttle...

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