What Is True/Slant?
275+ knowledgeable contributors.
Reporting and insight on news of the moment.
Follow them and join the news conversation.

Mar. 5 2010 - 8:10 am | 48 views | 1 recommendation | 0 comments

Obituary you missed: Robert T. McCall, space artist

Courtesy of the National Air and Space Museum

Courtesy of the National Air and Space Museum

Robert T. McCall, a painter whose work is displayed prominently in a museum that gets more visitors than any art museum in the world died late last month, but we wouldn’t have known it from most obituary pages.

His most famous image may be the gargantuan mural, showing events from the creation of the universe to men walking on the Moon, on the south lobby wall of the National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington. More than 10 million people a year pass it.

via Robert T. McCall, Illustrator of Space Travel, Dies at 90 – Obituary (Obit) – NYTimes.com.

To put that in perspective, the most visited art museum in the world, the Louvre in Paris, draws 8.5 million visitors per year. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, draws close to 5 million. And McCall’s painting could not be more prominently displayed. Of course, it competes for attention with rockets, airplanes and space capsules.

McCall wasn’t shooting for big numbers when he painted. He was engaging his passion, as the Times article points out.

Mr. McCall eagerly translated his youthful enthusiasm for drawing knights in shining armor on spirited steeds into paintings of intrepid astronauts in gleaming space vehicles, both real and imagined. When NASA in 1962 hit on the idea of enlisting artists to promote its mission, Mr. McCall was one of the first three chosen.

Other artists joined later.

As the program grew, more venturesome and abstract artists were added to the realists first commissioned, including Robert Rauschenberg. Other artists in the program included Andy Warhol, Norman Rockwell and the photographer Annie Leibovitz.


No Comments Yet
Post your comment »
Log in for notification options
Comments RSS

Post Your Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment

Log in with your True/Slant account.

Previously logged in with Facebook?

Create an account to join True/Slant now.

Facebook users:
Create T/S account with Facebook

My T/S Activity Feed


    About Me

    About 10 years ago, this lady in her 80s told me a childhood story about the day her mom tied her to a post on the porch. It was punishment for riding her tricycle past the curb at the end of their block. In the middle of the story she said to me, 'Wait, mom didn't tie me to the porch, she tied the tricycle to the porch. I just remembered that.' I've been fascinated by memory ever since.


    To make a living during those 10 years, I wrote about religion, politics and people for The Kansas City Star and National Catholic Reporter. I also delved deep into memory by teaching over 2,000 retired Midwesterners how to write their life stories. Now I am putting those two things together -- I'm reporting on memory from science, social and personal perspectives. I am also earning my MA in Journalism at NYU.

    See my profile »
    Followers: 39
    Contributor Since: January 2010
    Location:New York, NY

    What I'm Up To

    • On memory champions

      newyorker logo

    • On prison memoirs

    • On the Vatican and media

    • On sports memories

    • On J-school, age 41

    • +O
    • +O
    • +O
    • +O
    • +O