H.R. Van Dongen Death Noted

Van Dongen cover from 1950.

Artist Henry “Rich” Van Dongen, known to sf readers as H.R. Van Dongen, died February 27, 2010 at the age of 89. His passing was not reported within the genre until today when Jane Frank of Worlds of Wonder relayed the discovery.

Van Dongen was one of John W. Campbell’s favorite artists – he painted 46 covers for Astounding/Analog between 1950 and 1985. After working as a commercial illustrator in other fields he returned in 1975 to produce numerous book covers for Ballantine-Del Rey and DAW. 

An online memorial article adds that he was a veteran who served as a B-24 armorer-gunner with the 8th Air Force during World War II. He was shot down and spent 11 months as a prisoner of war.

His first cover painting in the sf genre was for the September 1949 issue of Super Science Stories. Outside of sf he worked as a freelance illustrator for Christian publications.

[Thanks to Mark Olson for the story.]

2 thoughts on “H.R. Van Dongen Death Noted

  1. He had an interesting style.

    I know that Jack Chalker was pleased to have the the covers to “Midnight at the Well of Souls” and “A Jungle of Stars” by van Dongen.

  2. This is sad if belated news…I’d been wondering lately if Mr. Van Dongen was still with us. In the ’90’s I sent him a fan letter and was privileged to receive a very gracious reply penned by his wife who related the reason why he was no longer doing illustration work was because of the injuries he sustained during WWII … He was one of my favorite illustrators for Astounding/Analog and later DAW! He sorely needs a compilation of his work published to stand alongside the other greats, Freas, Emsh, Gaughn, etc!

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