Paul Lehr (1930–1998) sold his first science fiction painting to Bantam Books for the cover of Satellite-E-One by Jeffrey Lloyd Castle. He subsequently provided hundreds of covers for science fiction books and magazines, as well as non-sf magazines such as Life, Time, Saturday Evening Post, and Playboy, to name a few.
In addition to the famous “Grok” cover for Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, he created covers for novels by Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, H.G. Wells, Frank Herbert, and many others.
His double-page painting of the first moon landing appeared in the Saturday Evening Post’s August 8, 1959 issue, fully ten years before the actual event. This original oil painting along with two others are now in the permanent collection of the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.
He created eleven covers for Analog from 1978 to 1984 and was nominated for the Hugo Award in 1980 and 1981. His artwork adorned the cover of fellow Illustrators of the Future Contest judge, Vincent Di Fate’s 1997 science fiction art history book Infinite Worlds and a gallery of his work appeared in the September 1997 Science Fiction Age with commentary by Di Fate.
He became a judge in the inaugural year of the Illustrators of the Future Contest and remained one for the rest of his life.
“The impact of this Contest program on the careers of promising illustrators is immeasurable.” —Paul Lehr