Recently, I became aware that one the most prominent cover artists for Astounding magazine, Hubert Rogers, was Canadian. I decided to do a little digging and discovered to my surprise that he had a long and illustrious career and body of work outside of the science fiction community. Born in Alberton, Prince Edward Island, Hubert Rogers' art encompasses everything from black and white charcoal sketches, brash and colourful science fiction pulp magazine covers to P.E.I. landscapes and striking portraits of the famous and not-so-famous.
He received schooling in Boston for a year, followed by a year at West Kent School in Charlottetown and a year at Acadia in Wolfsville, Nova Scotia. Rogers was encouraged by a teacher at Toronto Central Technical School to pursue his talent for art.
After serving in the First World War, he returned to Alberton, working on catalog designs for Holmans in Summerside, P.E.I. where he designed their first cover in 1922. Rogers returned to Boston for four years to study at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School. He remained in the U.S., working for newspapers, including the New York Herald Tribune, and the New York Times (night art editor).
During the depression years, Rogers worked in the American southwest doing magazine covers and portraits of the Pueblo Indians. Several of Rogers pieces from this time period now reside in the Smithsonian Institute.
Rogers found his fame as one of the foremost science fiction magazine illustrators in New York, a period spanning the 30s, 40s and 50s. His paintings and drawings appeared in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction at the moment that a group of writers who would become famous and influential around the world began to publish their earliest and most important works. Among the classic science fiction works he illustrated were Methuselahs Children by Robert Heinlein, Slan and The World of Null-A by A.E. van Vogt, Nightfall and Foundation by Isaac Asimov, Grey Lensman by E. E. Doc Smith and Final Blackout by L. Ron Hubbard (later founder of the Church of Scientology). Rogers created both original color paintings which were published on the covers of the magazine and black and white illustrations for the interior pages.
During World War II, Rogers returned to Canada to create art for posters (Men of Valour series) and other publications to support the war effort. He also painted the 1943 Quebec Conference which features 34 portraits including Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and William Lyon Mackenzie King. The Quebec Conference painting hangs in the National War Museum in Ottawa. Other significant Canadian artists also produced designs for the Wartime Information Board, including A.J. Casson, Laurence Hyde, A.Y. Jackson, Harry Mayerovitch, and Marion Scott.
Later in his career, he became one of Canada's most prominent portrait artists. Rogers portraits included the painting of all of the commissioners of the RCMP for the RCMP museum in Regina. A painting of Muriel Murtagh, the first woman senator hangs in the Senate and a painting of Viscount Alexander of Tunis hangs in Government House in Ottawa.
In later years, Rogers produced many landscapes and oil paintings of Atlantic Canada locations many of which are prominently displayed in the Canadian Club in New York City.