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"Green Hills of Earth" Illustration by Fred Ludekens, 1947 
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Post "Green Hills of Earth" Illustration by Fred Ludekens, 1947
The Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies has a fine blog devoted to illustration. Now and then it showcases the work of science fiction and fantasy illustrators.

Curator Joyce K. Schiller writes about Fred Ludekens's painting illustrating Heinlein's "The Green Hills of Earth." Turns out some of the artist's preliminary studies were published in a book about Saturday Evening Post artwork.

She notes, as some of us know, that the Heinleins owned the original painting, "now in the posession of the Heinlein Society." Wouldn't it be nice if the Heinlein Society put a decent scan of it online?

Failing that, we have the magazine version. Here's a 2370x916-pixel version of the picture, where I've inserted a white vertical "gutter" to make the canals line up across the two-page spread.

Here's a detail showing Rhysling himself.

As Geo Rule pointed out here back in 2010, Ludekens also illustrated "It's Great to Be Back!" for the Post. Here's a PDF. The pictures aren't terribly germane to the story, though.

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Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:14 am
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Post Re: "Green Hills of Earth" Illustration by Fred Ludekens, 19
I have a friend who runs a fine art scanning business. Scans to complete fidelity. Whoever has the original, contact me if interested.


Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:05 am
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Post Re: "Green Hills of Earth" Illustration by Fred Ludekens, 19
Does anyone understand the "use" implications of any such scans as it might relate to the artist's estate? Just because the Society owns the painting, does that mean we can do anything with it other than allow it to be displayed in a physical location?

(I'm asking--forgive me if it's an obvious answer--but when you see art in books, it's generally 'reproduced with permission of the artist etc.')


Mon Jun 16, 2014 4:42 am
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Post Re: "Green Hills of Earth" Illustration by Fred Ludekens, 19
JusTin wrote:
Just because the Society owns the painting, does that mean we can do anything with it other than allow it to be displayed in a physical location?


Just because someone (or some group entity, like the Society) owns a painting doesn't give them the right to do anything that is normally protected by copyright (like publish reproductions, display on a website, etc.)

However, there are lots of things that confuse the issue.
Was it copyrighted correctly when published? Was copyright renewed after 28 years? (it may have fallen into the public domain since publication) Was the original copyright held by Ludekens as the artist, or did he do it as "work for hire", and the SEP picked up the copyright?

Even if someone (Ludekens's estate, or the SEP publishing entity) owns a current, valid copyright, libraries and archives get special permissions to do things that the rest of us can't do (see sec 108 of the copyright law). Does the Society qualify?? Dunno - IANAL.

The only real answer for a question like this is "it depends".

More Heinlein Ludekens art.

"It's Great to be Back" also has illustrations by Ludekens.


Last edited by BillMullins on Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jun 16, 2014 4:53 pm
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Post Re: "Green Hills of Earth" Illustration by Fred Ludekens, 19
The scan need not be published. Scanning to preserve a digital hedge against deterioration would not be challenged by any party.


Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:03 pm
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Post Re: "Green Hills of Earth" Illustration by Fred Ludekens, 19
JusTin wrote:
Does anyone understand the "use" implications of any such scans as it might relate to the artist's estate?

I am no expert. But it occurs to me that, if you have plans for the painting, you could do worse than to contact Dr. Joyce K. Schiller at the Rockwell Center (see my original posting). As a curator who deals with illustration, she's probably familiar with this kind of situation. Plus, obviously, she's familiar with this picture-- and might be pleased to hear from its owners.

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Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:06 am
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Post Re: "Green Hills of Earth" Illustration by Fred Ludekens, 19
It would be perfectly legal, and acceptable, to *make* a high quality scan of this painting for archival use. You might need to get permission from the copyright holders to use that scan publicly any time before the copyright expires, although if it were the Heinlein Society that asked, I think chances of getting permission would be pretty good. :-)

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Wed Jun 18, 2014 6:51 am
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Post Re: "Green Hills of Earth" Illustration by Fred Ludekens, 19
Thanks for the input all! I did finally go back and look at the original blog post. Interesting that she posts the copyright as Virginia Heinlein not the artist.

It's definitely a goal of the Society to get these paintings enjoyed by a wider audience.


Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:31 am
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Post Re: "Green Hills of Earth" Illustration by Fred Ludekens, 19
JusTin wrote:
It's definitely a goal of the Society to get these paintings enjoyed by a wider audience.

Does your Society have other paintings?

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Thu Jun 19, 2014 2:56 pm
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Post Re: "Green Hills of Earth" Illustration by Fred Ludekens, 19
beamjockey wrote:
JusTin wrote:
It's definitely a goal of the Society to get these paintings enjoyed by a wider audience.

Does your Society have other paintings?


It's "the" Society....we are on the THS Nexus Forum. :) But to answer the question when Ginny Heinlein passed, THS was given 3 paintings. The GHoE discussed above, a Chesley Bonestell moonscape that had been used in Life magazine (but not from any Destination Moon direct connection), and a painting of Nichelle Nichols as Uhura by Kelly Freas.

All interesting stuff.


Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:16 am
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