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Schongut, Emanuel

(1936-    ) American artist, sometimes credited in error as Emmanuel Schongut. He was educated at New York's Pratt Institute, where he later worked as an instructor, and has applied his skills to diverse artistic endeavours including book covers, children's books, posters, and advertisements. His genre work began in the 1960s, when he painted a number of sf book covers for Doubleday, and later for other publishers. His distinctive style, usually featuring simply drawn human figures and abstract images in stark configurations, seems to reflect a variety of influences, ranging from Art Nouveau to the psychedelic artwork of Peter Max, although he tends to avoid bright colours and elaborate detail, preferring more subdued and uncluttered designs. Among many striking efforts, one might mention his 1968 cover for L P Davies's Twilight Journey (1967), juxtaposing a man's sleeping head with his apparent dream of flying past the Moon; his cover for Kate Wilhelm's collection The Downstairs Room and Other Speculative Fiction (coll 1968), depicting a sitting woman with the chequerboard pattern of the floor showing through her body; and his 1973 cover for Joseph Green's Conscience Interplanetary (fixup 1972), wherein a naked man runs through a gray starscape of white spheres, a butterfly, and an enormous eye.

While Schongut continued painting book covers in the 1970s, including some interesting covers for paperback editions of books by Aldous Huxley and John Christopher, he was increasingly occupied by assignments to illustrate children's books, including five "board books" for small children which credited him as the author (though little writing was involved, since every page featured a single word), as well as magazine illustrations and advertisements. As if to demonstrate that he was no longer dependent upon publishing companies to earn an income, Schongut eventually relocated to San Francisco, where he now resides. One of his high-profile projects involved painting four posters to promote programmes shown on the PBS programs Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery, financed by corporate sponsor Mobil Oil, though children's books have remained his main avocation to this day. [GW]

Emanuel Schongut

born 19 May 1936



Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 01:50 am on 21 May 2022.