SFScope friend Andrew Porter forwards the following letter from Jane Frank of Worlds of Wonder:
A fan wrote to me today asking me if I thought the report of a death in 2010 could be the SF artist H. R. Van Dongen – and after a few minutes’ research it turns out he’s right.
Henry Richard Van Dongen, born August 20, 1920, died February 27, 2010. Notice of his death was published in local upstate NY papers but unless I was sleep-walking through 2010, appears to have gone unnoticed by our science fiction community. It seems incredible that I would discover his death this way, but I googled and couldn’t find a single SF source which noted the passing of this well-known artist. Van Dongen began his long career in the field with his cover painting for the September 1949 issue of Super Science Stories – and went on to become one of the mainstays of Astounding Science Fiction, then the premier magazine in the genre. Of the top ten artists who contributed covers to Astounding (later Analog Magazine) he is ranked #7, with 46 covers painted between 1950 and 1985. He was working as a commercial illustrator in other fields when he returned in 1975 to produce numerous book covers for Ballantine-Del Rey and DAW.
He was 89 when he died, and sharp when I first spoke to him on the phone when he was in his early 80s…and I recall with fondness our correspondence when I was putting together my bio dictionary, c. 2005.
If this is old news to you, my apologies. But even if belatedly, I felt compelled to say something about “Rich” Van Dongen.
Worlds of Wonder
Van Dongen was also a B-24 armorer/gunner during World War II, was shot down, and spent 11 months as a prisoner of war.
ISFDb has a significant bibliography on this page.
He was a finalist for the 1959 Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist.