Richard M. Powers


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Click on one of the links below for updated catalogs for our Richard Powers exhibitions:

June 2012
September 2012
December 2013
September 2014

Baldwin Hill Art & Framing is proud to represent the American artist and illustrator Richard M. Powers (1921-1996).  Known primarily for his commercial illustrations, particularly science fiction book covers, Powers nonetheless had a body of fine art work as well.  Many of these works explore the same surrealistic themes that appear in his book covers.

Stylistic similarities in Powers’ book illustration and fine art work

Powers did not set out to become a science fiction illustrator, but it was here that his natural style found a home.  He was drawn to the surrealistic styles of Dali and Tanguy, but these were a poor fit for his first commissions to illustrate literature and children’s books.  He found his home in science fiction when Ian Ballantine, founder of Ballantine Books, decided that he wanted a more mature look for his science fiction collection.  Up until this point most science fiction books were illustrated with bold, realistic renderings of spaceships, monsters, and spacesuited figures.  Ballantine realized that tales of the fantastic could well be depicted by abstract images that create a mood, rather than literal pictures that illustrate the story.  Powers’ style was a perfect match for this vision.

Left: Powers in a realistic style. Center: Powers’ abstract style. Right: The same book with a cover by Yves Tanguy

Powers distinguished between his two bodies of work with different signatures.  His commercial illustrations were signed “Powers” or “rmpowers”, while his fine art work was signed “Gorman Powers” after his mother’s maiden name.

Baldwin Hill Art & Framing is honored to be able to work with the Powers estate to show these lesser-known fine art works to the general public.