In The American, “The way Gene Cernan looks in his suit reminds me of the classic hero of western movies,” artist Alan Bean remembers. “His hands are even poised — ready to make the draw.” In this strange world, all bundled up in a bulky space suit, he still looks American. He even wears a white hat. I painted Gene with the Sun almost at his back and his suit almost shadowed. The colors I used were not as literal as they are expressionistic, or impressionistic.
It was a beautiful mission to an incredible place – the Taurus-Littrow Valley. Apollo 17 was our last mission to the Moon. Gene, Ron Evans, and Jack Schmitt called it “The End of the Beginning”. It was a perfect mission, with records set in time spent of the surface, rocks returned, and in many other ways. Those records have stood for a long time and may stand for decades to come.
As one of twelve human beings in history to have walked on earth’s moon, Alan Bean is also the only artist in history to paint, from experience, the lunar landscape. A member of the Apollo XII expedition, the second of six manned lunar landings which took place between 1969 and 1972, Bean resigned from NASA in 1981 to focus full time on what he calls an unprecedented opportunity and challenge — devoting all of his time and energy to painting the great historical exploration of space that defines the Apollo expeditions.
This piece is the perfect addition to your home, not only because of it’s uniqueness, but also because it is a true piece of history for all mankind
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