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My painting sub-career began with an interest in drawing as a kid. My paternal grandfather, Andrew (Andreas) Hartmann, was an artist who came to the US from Switzerland in 1892. I remember his paintings being all over the walls of our house, which seemed normal -- and I regret that I didn't know him long enough to get into his mind to find out why he was painting and what he was thinking.   (See Andrew Hartmann's website here.)

I'm basically self-taught. I began to develop my painting more seriously in the 1970s when I realized I could use them to illustrate my textbooks. Texts at that time were poorly illustrated, and I realized that it might make astronomy more interesting if students could visualize what it might be like to visit various astronomical locations. At the same time I commissioned works from artist friends I was beginning to meet, and learned a lot from them. In 1982 I organized the first International Space Art Workshop, in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park -- a gathering from which eventually grew the International Association of Astronomical Artists.

Swiss Scene Painting
Painting of Swiss scene by Andrew Hartmann, ca. 1930.


WKH Woolsey Peak
Woolsey Peak wilderness, Arizona
(photo: Joe Gordon)
WKH La Salina
La Salina salt flat, Sonora, Mexico
(photo: Gayle Hartmann)
WKH Brittany coast
Brittany Coast, France
(photo: Gayle Hartmann)
WKH Speitz Switz
Spietz, Switzerland
(photo: Olga Popova)
WKH Tetons
Grand Teton National Park
(photo: Gayle Hartmann)


Many or most of the paintings shown here are available for reproduction and/or purchase. Inquire about reproduction at (520) 622-6300 (PSI), where my secretary is available to facilitate rapid turnaround of images. Inquiries about sales can be made through (520) 325-6548 or through my email: hartmann [at] ( hartmann [at] ) . Prices of original paintings are currently running $500-2000 and rising. Twenty-five percent proceeds produced through these contacts will go to the scientific work of PSI and/or a fund for travel of graduate students to the annual meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society.



* Gallery of Astronomical Observatories
* Gallery of Planets and Moons
* Gallery of Mars
* Gallery of Asteroids and Comets
* Gallery of Stars and Galaxies
645 Enceladus
Eruption on Saturn's moon, Enceladus, based on discoveries by Cassini spacecraft.


My own paintings divide into astronomical work and terrestrial landscapes. My paintings of astronomical subjects are based on recent scientific discoveries. As a boy, I was inspired by the paintings of Chesley Bonestell, father of astronomical art in the U.S. I was very happy to know him in his later years, in his 80's, when he was still active and gave me many valuable critiques. In the astronomical paintings my goal is to make something aesthetically beautiful from our discoveries about the rest of universe. To me, the discoveries about other worlds are so fantastic that we do not need to go outside the bounds of realism to make interesting images, although I like my images to have a certain interest at the abstract compositional and sometimes textural levels. Recently I've been moving toward thicker paint and even incorporating sand and other material into the paint.

My astronomical paintings have been published in magazines ranging from Natural History, Smithsonian, and Astronomy in the U.S. to the London Economist and other magazines in Japan, Russia, France, Germany, England, and Italy.

Homage to Chesley Bonestell. Bonestell painted this rocket on the cover of a 1949 book, "The Conquest of Space", showing the conception of lunar flight at that time. His painting had steep mountains and craggy rocks. Here, I painted the Bonestell rocket as it would have appeared on the real moon, which is more smooth than visualized in 1949.

My astronomical paintings have also been shown in exhibitions in New York City, Berkeley, Pasadena, Hawaii, and the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, as well as internationally in Moscow, Montreux, Yalta, and elsewhere, and are in collections the U.S., Paris, and Moscow. They have also been used to illustrate books by Carl Sagan and other authors, as well as my own books on astronomical and space themes, such as Grand Tour, Out of the Cradle, Cycles of Fire, and The History of Earth (New York, Workman Publishing).

My work has begun to get more notice. The Chicago Sun-Times in 1996 said "Hartmann is the most traditionally artistic of the space painters." Arthur C. Clarke in 1996 wrote "I consider him to be the direct successor of the late, great Chesley Bonestell," the father of Space Art. In 1997, my art was cited when I was named first winner of the Carl Sagan Medal for communication of science to the public, from the American Astronomical Society.

During the glasnost years, I was involved in an exchange project with the Russian Union of Artists, where I painted with Russian artists and co-edited a collection of space paintings from the two countries, In the Stream of Stars: The Soviet American Space Art Book (New York: Workman Publishing).

I've been commissioned twice to paintings for the NASA Fine Arts Program (Galileo space probe launch and Mars Observer Mission), and have had two of my paintings flown in the Russian Space Station, Mir, in 1992.








* Volcano Gallery
* Sonoran Desert Gallery
* Earth: A Travel Gallery
* Tucson Gallery
* Arizona and the Southwest: A Travel Gallery
* Old Mexico Gallery
* France Gallery
* Switzerland Gallery
* Hawaii Scenic Gallery
* Hawaii Volcano Gallery
645 Enceladus
Springtime in a meadow close to Reichenbach Falls, near Meiringen Switzerland.


The former have been done mostly in the deserts of Arizona and Sonora, but also include paintings done on scientific and artistic trips to many parts of the world, including Hawaii, Iceland, Prague, the Black Forest of Germany, Mt. St. Helens, the Caribbean, and Yalta.

In my terrestrial landscape painting, I see Earth is a cosmic body -- just one of many worlds. Landscape painting from Nature is also a way of staying honest about how light strikes various natural materials, and thus keeping all my paintings fresh and full of actual observations of nature's incredible variety of effects.


Chabot Space and Science Center Mural , a 55-foot mural installed at the new science museum in Oakland, CA. Two other paintings on permanent exhibit as well.

From Iceland to Mars (One person show) : Invited exhibit of Mars and Icelandic landcapes at University of Iceland as part of International Mars Conference. August-September 2000. (4 purchases).

Starways of Humanity , Moscow, USSR, 1989. American version, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Washington DC, 1990.

Art of the Cosmos (Touring exhibit of Internatl. Assoc. for Astronom. Arts): Hayden Planetarium, New York City, 1991; Discovery Museum, Bridgeport CO, 1992; Arts & Science Center, Statesville, NC, 1993; Bergen Museum, Pavamus, NJ, 1993; Maryland Science Center, Baltimore MD, 1994.

Exhibit of International Space Art , Union of Artists, Yalta, Crimea, USSR, 1990.

Space Expo , Montreux, Switzerland, 1992.

Two Person Show of space paintings with Diane McGregor, Volcano Art Center, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii 1994.

One Person Show : 13 Landscapes of Hawaii, Wailoa Exhibit Center, Hilo, Hawaii, 1995.

NASA Fine Arts Program : Two commissions: Mars Observer probe and Launch of Galileo probe to Jupiter.

Visions of Mars : Multi-artist collection of paintings and writings about the planet Mars, included in digitized form on a CD to be flown to the surface of the Mars on the Russian spacecraft, "Mars 96;" released through the Planetary Society and Virtual Reality Laboratories, 1995. (Mars-96 orbited Earth but crashed into the Pacific during a launch failure.)

One Person Show: Above and Beyond : 41 Astronomical Paintings, Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, 1996. (Ten purchases).

Public Art Project : Selected to do major installation for City of Oakland Public Art Program, for new building of Chabot Observatory and Science Museum, 1995-1997.

Purchase : For collection of Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, Arizona, 1996.

Group Show : Imagine the Universe (with works of Chesley Bonestell and other artists, Adler Planetarium, Chicago, July-Oct 1996. WKH was called "the most traditionally artistic of the space painters" by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Group Show : International Association for the Astronomical Arts exhibition, 3 paintings, Museo de la Ciencia y el Cosmos, Tenerife, Canary Islands, 1996.

Group Show : Annual meeting of Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, Tucson, Oct. 1996. (Three purchases).

3-Person Show : Tohono Chul Park/Gallery, Tucson, Dec - Jan. 1996.

<-- Back to Bill Hartmann's Home Page    Last updated June 4, 2016 by Kelly Rehm



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