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"The First Human Footprint" by Alan Bean

The First Human Footprint
by Alan Bean

45-years and a quarter of a million miles ago, mankind first stepped foot on another world. This July, Earth will celebrate the 45th Anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon, Apollo’s most celebrated moment. We, the United States of America, had won a very real race to show which country could first land men on the Moon and return them safely to Earth. This amazing achievement demonstrated the collective will and capability of over 400,000 American men and women doing their jobs with care and precision.

Neil Armstrong’s footprint on the Moon will serve as an eternal testament to the can-do ability of mankind. Unfortunately, there are no good photographs of this moment and although the black-and-white television image was not very good for that first moonwalk, the soundtrack is still very clear.

"The First Human Footprint," astronaut and moonwalker Alan Bean’s companion piece to "A Giant Leap," was created with an insight and access to the Apollo program that only a fellow moonwalker could have.

“I talked with Neil for quite a while before I started this painting. I wanted to know which rung he was holding with his right hand as he stepped off the ladder with his left foot and how far around the landing pad was his right foot? He remembered most things but we agreed there were some details we just couldn’t remember from our missions.

“I had difficulty accurately painting the reflection in the visor, so I went out to the Johnson Space Center where they have a lunar module. A friend of mine, wearing a gold helmet, posed in the same position that Neil was in on the moon. Then I painted what was in the visor.”

As the centuries unfold, there will be other first footprints in our future―first on Mars, on an asteroid, on a moon of Jupiter and on a planet around a different star. They will be much farther away than our Moon but none will ever be a more giant leap for humankind than the one made by Neil Armstrong and all the people who helped him make that leap on July 21, 1969.

This is you opportunity to own a unique and beautiful piece of lunar history, Alan Bean’s "The First Human Footprint," created and signed by the first and only artist to visit another world





"The First Human Footprint" by Alan Bean


Sizing & Pricing

Greenwich Workshop
Fine Art Giclée Canvas:
limited to 100 s/n.
12"w x 15"h.
$295

 

Alan Bean: Artist and Astronaut

Captain Alan Bean was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, the fourth man to walk on the moon and commander of Skylab 2. “I am fortunate enough to have seen sights no other artist ever has,” Bean says.

“I want my paintings to communicate an emotional experience in ways that photography cannot.”

Captain Bean creates his original works of art using a unique technique allowing the viewer to actually sense vestiges of the 20th century’s most dramatic accomplishments. Pressed into the canvas surfaces are Captain Bean’s authentic lunar boot “moonprints,” impressions from a core tube-bit used to collect soil samples and marks from a hammer used to drive the staff of the American flag into the moon’s surface. Moon dust, trapped on the patches on the outside of his suit, makes its way onto each original as well.

Each print and canvas is an historical record of the lunar experience, as each is signed by moonwalker Captain Alan Bean, with most countersigned by other moonwalkers and astronauts.This may be your only chance to own such a visionary and historic celebration of man’s greatest achievement. NASA was sometimes asked “Why not send an artist to the moon?” It turns out they did.

Biography

Alan Bean—Apollo XII astronaut, commander of Skylab II and artist—was born in 1932 in Wheeler, Texas. In 1950 he was selected for an NROTC scholarship at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1955, he was commissioned an ensign in the United States Navy.

Holder of eleven world records in space and astronautics, as well as numerous national and international honors, Alan Bean has had a most distinguished peacetime career. His awards include two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, the Yuri Gagarin Gold Medal and the Robert J. Collier Trophy. As part of the Apollo XII crew, he became the fourth of only twelve men ever to walk on the Moon. As the spacecraft commander of Skylab Mission II, he set a world record: 24,400,000 miles traveled during the 59-day flight. He has also launched himself successfully into a new career as an artist.

When he wasn’t flying, Bean always enjoyed painting as a hobby. Attending night classes at St. Mary’s College in Maryland in 1962, Alan experimented with landscapes. During training and between missions as a test pilot and astronaut, he continued private art lessons. On space voyages, his artist’s eye and talent enabled him to document impressions of the Moon and space to be preserved later on canvas. His art reflects the attention to detail of the aeronautical engineer, the respect for the unknown of the astronaut and the unabashed appreciation of a skilled painter.

The space program has seen unprecedented achievements and Bean realized that most of those who participated actively in this adventure would be gone in forty years. He knew that if any credible artistic impressions were to remain for future generations, he must paint them now. “My decision to resign from NASA in 1981 was based on the fact that I am fortunate enough to have seen sights no other artist ever has,” Bean said, “and I hope to communicate these experiences through art.”

Bean’s book Apollo: An Eyewitness Account which chronicles his first-person experience as an Apollo astronaut in words and paintings was received with critical and popular acclaim upon its publication in 1998.


Alan Bean samples the Ocean of Storms.

Is Anyone Out There?

A detail of Is Anyone Out There showing the lunar boot moonprints and core tube-bit imprint.

Alan Bean in 1981

Alan Bean in his studio

Alan Bean: Video
Watch this clip from the documentary Alan Bean: Artist.
Alan Bean, in his studio, discusses his art.