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    Chesley Bonestell (American, 1888-1986)
    The Exploration of Mars book cover, Winged Rocket Ferry Orbits Mars Prior to Landing after 250-Day Flight, 1956
    Oil on board
    16-7/8 x 16-3/4 inches (42.9 x 42.5 cm) (sight)
    Signed lower left

    This illustration was published on the cover of The Exploration of Mars by Willy Ley and Wernher von Braun (Viking Press, 1956).

    The artist;
    Private collection, acquired from the above, circa 1973.

    Ron Miller and Frederick C. Durant, III, Worlds Beyond, Virginia, 1983, p. 44, illustrated;
    Ron Miller and Frederick C. Durant, III, The Art of Chesley Bonestell, United Kingdom, 2001, p. 190, illustrated.

    Wernher von Braun was a pioneer of rocket and space technology. He designed the the Saturn V that propelled the Apollo rockets to the moon. From the beginning of his career, von Braun insisted that one day humans would explore space with manned rockets. To that end, he began publishing numerous articles and books to entice the American public to this final frontier. To help capture the momentum of the moment, von Braun hired Willy Ley, a well-known science and science fiction writer, to convey his ideas and the artist Chesley Bonestell to illustrate his designs.

    In 1956, the space architect dreamed of the first manned rocket to Mars - a small step for imagination and a large leap in technology. The present work beautifully depicted by Chesley Bonestell was published as the cover of of the iconic book The Exploration of Mars. The painting illustrates Wernher von Braun's design for the space ship that would allow humans to go where no man has gone before.

    This work is especially poignant with NASA's successful landing of the Perseverance Rover on Mars this year. Over 60 years later, we still have yet to land on our closest planet, but still we reach as did Wernher von Braun.

    Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000.

    Condition Report*: Under UV exam, there does not appear to be inpaint, but an uneven varnish fluoresces green. Few clustered 4 inch vertical scratches with loss in the upper left corner. 3 inch scuff on the top edge of Mars. Mild surface dust.
    Framed Dimensions 24 X 23 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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