New on Archive.org, with a public PDF download, McFarland’s Science Fiction And Fantasy Artists Of The Twentieth Century: A Biographical Dictionary (2009). This is no longer discoverable on the McFarland catalogue site, and Amazon UK and USA both have it as “out of print, unavailable”. There are no used copies or copies on eBay either. Thus, I think it can justifiably be linked here without harming anyone’s wallet in these difficult times.
It’s a scholarly two-column reference work that was aimed at academic libraries, judging by the original retail price of $135 (probably about $220 in today’s money). There are two introductory survey essays, one to 1975 and another from the 1970s through to the year 2000. The author then crisply details the biographies of nearly 400 selected artists in 500 or so pages, nearly all North American but with some 70 British artists manning the tail-guns. The book doesn’t cover the field of children’s science-fiction, work for the screen, or comics work (Corben is in, Moebius isn’t), and as far as I can tell it has little to say about the art of books native to Russia, Germany or Japan.
The book will also serve as a handy reference guide to collectors of the various artbooks issued by these artists, though there are surely more to be discovered. One hopes that somewhere in the world is a collector with the whole 20th century caboodle of these artbooks in mint condition, and that he’ll leave them all to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum or suchlike.
I wonder if this PDF freebie book has been released on Archive.org in order to drum up interest for a new updated edition circa 2025? One imagines there would be a market for a greatly expanded two-volume $500 set.