To many, the name John Schoenherr may not be immediately recognizable. But odds are if you’re a genre reader, you’re familiar with his work.
Schoenherr is the artist illustrated some of the biggest names in science-fiction and fantasy, including “Dune” and the Pern series.
Schoenherr has passed away at the age of 74 according to SciFi Wire.
Frank Herbert, the author of “Dune,” said that Schoenherr was “the only man who has ever visited Dune,” when Herbert viewed illustrations for the books.
Schoenherr was perhaps best known for his illustrations for Dune, which was first published in two parts as “Dune World” and “The Prophet of Dune” in the science fiction magazine Analog in 1963 and 1965, respectively, and for which he won the 1965 Hugo Award for Best Artist. Beginning in the late 1950s and continuing through the late 1970s, Schoenherr contributed hundreds of distinctive and memorable illustrations for various science fiction magazines and books.
Schoenherr was one of a handful of artists who helped create our visual memory of the classic science fiction of that era. His interior illustrations, especially those in scratchboard, were iconic in their dark precision. His full-color cover paintings often made use of bright, glowing colors to create dramatically alien landscapes, artifacts and creatures. In addition to Dune, he did illustrations in 1967 for Ann McCaffrey’s first Pern story, “Wehr Search.” He thereby contributed to the genesis of two of the most popular science fiction series of the past 50 years.
In 1978, he returned to the world of Dune with new art for The Illustrated Dune, after which he worked only occasionally in SF but continued his prolific and award-winning work in children’s book and wildlife art.