A reader sent an email last night to ask for any information I might have about the late artist Francis Van Tine. The reader had come into possession of the framed original painting shown here (the photo, taken outdoors, has shadows cast on it).
I had not heard of Van Tine before and the web has little info on him beyond this: Francis Van Tine Obituary – Daily Press – Nov.20.2008. Here is a part of the obit:
Born in Hoboken, N.J., in 1915, to ship captain’s daughter and a longshoreman, he grew up in New York City. He had 6 brothers. At 14, during Great Depression, he left school to work as page boy on Wall St. – Chase Manhattan Bank. Was sole support of his family.
He served in WWII – Army Tank Destroyers and tail-gunner in Army Air Corp.
After WWII, Francis married his sweetheart, poet, Evelyn Sylvia Haynes. He, worked for Bethlehem Steel as accountant, Federal Civil Service as Fiscal Officer, Fort Wadsworth and Camp Kilmer. His only child, Robin, born in Tottenville, Staten Island, New York City.
He moved his family to Merritt Is., Fla., in 1956 to work at Patrick AFB as comptroller until, at 45, risked all to become artist for the space program at Cape Canaveral, creating beautiful paintings of imagined future space missions, some displayed in Washington, D.C.
Francis was present for Mercury, Gemini, Apollo missions, witnessing America’s leap into space. Some of his art even orbited Earth in a capsule, later presented to President Lyndon Johnson.
After Apollo program wound down, he became staff artist, Dept of Defense, Race Relations Inst. (now Equal Employment Opportunity Management Inst.)
He once created a header illustration for The Missileer newspaper at Patrick AFB: Base Artist Designs Second Missileer Flag – The Missileer/AFSpaceMuseum – Nov.4.1966 (pdf)
Illustrators often don’t get much if any credit for their work. I’ve seen many great illustrations in documents, old sci-fi magazine covers, etc, with no attribution to the artists.
Let me know if you have any info on Van Tine and/or images of other artwork of his. If you are interested in purchasing the above painting, I will put you in touch with the owner.