Alan Bean's moon dust painting set for $80,000 auction



2016-10-18 10:38:22

An out-of-this-world painting by Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean could bring up to $80,000 at auction this week.

Created in 2004, the painting 'John F. Kennedy's Vision' is one of the star lots of the current RR Auctions Space and Aviation sale.

Bean was the lunar module pilot aboard the Apollo 12 mission in 1969, during which he became the fourth man in history to walk on the moon, and later served as commander of Skylab 3, the second manned mission to the Skylab space station in 1973.

Bean then retired from NASA in 1981 to begin a second career as an artist, and his space paintings have become highly sought-after by collectors.

Not only does Bean paint scenes that only a handful of humans have ever seen first-hand; he's also the only artist in the world to use actual moon dust in his work.

When creating the artworks, Bean mixes his paint with genuine lunar dust – a material worth more than its weight in gold - carried back from the surface of the moon on the insignia patches of his space suit.

He then creates textured surfaces by pressing his lunar-worn space boot prints onto the canvas, and makes further marks with both a core tube-bit used to collect soil samples, and a hammer used to drive the American flag into the lunar soil.

Prior to the sale, Bean himself described what inspired him to create the artwork, entitled 'John F. Kennedy's Vision':

"At the beginning of John F. Kennedy's presidency the people of the United States of America were in crisis...When the communists sent Yuri Gagarin, the first human into space, again we could only look on with awe and concern...

"Our president could feel the discouragement. As leader of the free world he knew our country needed a bold stroke. In 1961 he proclaimed before Congress that America would reach the Moon 'before the decade is out.

"Less than seven years later, on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin realized John Kennedy's vision when they placed the stars and stripes on the surface of the Moon. Americans could feel confident again."

The unique painting, created by the fourth man on the moon using real lunar dust, is expected to sell for $60,000 - $80,000.

"This meaningful painting by the fourth moonwalker holds tremendous appeal both in its artistic merit and extraordinary craftsmanship," said Robert Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.

The RR Auction Space and Aviation Sale runs online until Thursday October 20.

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