A unique exhibition of paintings by William K. Hartmann titled "From Tucson to Mars - And Beyond" is being hosted by the Northern Trust Bank from Nov. 9 through Dec. 27. Three gallery rooms at the branch at 6444 E. Tanque Verde Road in Tucson will show paintings based on Arizona/Sonora scenes, international travel, and astronomical visualizations of other worlds.
Hartmann is one of the founders of the Planetary Science Institute, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. He is an internationally renowned scientist, painter and writer. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his research and is the first winner of the Carl Sagan Medal from the American Astronomical Society. The medal recognized Hartmann's work in communicating planetary exploration to the public. "I think of outdoor painting as a way to connect with nature," Hartmann said. "In that way, it's part of my scientific work and my humanity — as I paint and learn about Earth, I'm learning about one of many planets."
The 60 displayed paintings range from San Xavier and Father Kino's headquarter mission site in Sonora to Paris scenes and visualizations of vistas on Mars and other planets.
Half the proceeds from painting sales at the exhibit will be split between Tucson's non-profit Planetary Science Institute where Hartmann continues his research as a Senior Scientist, and a student travel grant fund started by Hartmann to support student travel to conferences of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society.
PSI supports 40 Tucson-based scientists and staff who bring NASA contracts to bolster the local economy, and who are also active in science outreach into Tucson schools. Another 60 PSI staffers are scattered in across the United States and around the world.
Hartmann is known scientifically for originating (with PSI co-founder and colleague Don Davis) the modern theory of the moon's origin, as triggered by a giant asteroid impact onto primordial Earth. Hartmann also developed a technique that dates geologic surface formations on Mars, using numbers of impact craters. At the same time, he has published college textbooks, illustrated books of popular science, and written two novels.
Hartmann's paintings have appeared as covers for the Economist, Natural History, U.A. Press books and other media. They have been shown and collected in America, Europe, and Russia. After a 1996 exhibit of astronomical art at Chicago's Adler Planetarium, the Chicago Sun Times called Hartmann "the most traditionally artistic of the space painters." Famed science fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke, also in 1996, wrote, "I consider him to be the direct successor of the late, great Chesley Bonestell," the father of astronomical painting.
The exhibit will be open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It's best to call the bank in advance, at 722-1575, to determine when all three exhibit rooms will be open.