I ordered some Star Wars postcards, which includes the "TIE Fighter Pilot" painting, version 3 (the one shown above). This version of "TIE Fighter Pilot" is from early 1976. Wait. Version 3 on the painting? This made me curious, so I investigated this a little bit.
There is a great article by John Scoleri, published in January 14, 2014, called "An Annotated Guide to The Star Wars Portfolio by Ralph McQuarrie" on StarWars.com that features additional versions of McQuarrie's art. You can read the full article here:
Here are the three different versions of "TIE Fighter Pilot," with some descriptive text below them:
John Scoleri says about these paintings: "Another one of Ralph’s earliest paintings, the view from inside the Imperial ship would also go through the greatest number of known revisions. Originally conceived with the early Death Star concept and the Y-wing attacking head on, at some point the Death Star was changed to a planet (Yavin?). In this form, the piece was reproduced (in black and white) in a 1976 Fox Exhibitor’s manual. And finally, sometime after the change of the Millennium Falcon concept, it was repainted once more with the final version of the Death Star, and the Falcon replacing the Colin Cantwell Y-Wing."
The history of Star Wars, and its weird association with the Arcadia 2001, is very interesting, don't you think?