Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Art of Mati Klarwein

click to enlarge each of the five paintings
Mati Klarwein (1932-2002) was born of Jewish parents in pre-war Germany. The family immigrated to Palestine in 1934 and Mati grew up there very much as an outsider. He often used the name Abdul Mati Klarwein. He traveled and worked around the world, from France to the United States, from Africa to South America, and from Spain to Italy, Greece, Turkey, Morocco and India. Klarwein's early paintings have a decidedly psychedelic look, while his later paintings are surreal and dream-like.

These images are all from a rich, 1983 paperback by Mati Klarwein, entitled Inscapes.

Klarwein's name never became a household word, and yet if you were alive and kicking in the 1960s and 1970s, you probably would have been familiar with his work. Carlos Santana used Annunciation, the painting below, as the cover of his all-time best-selling Abraxas album.

Mati Klarwein, photographed by Bettina Rheims


  1. Mark, some of these pictures have an almost Magrite feeling behind them. I wonder id Magrite ever influenced him?

  2. David, I'm sure that Klarwein, being such a world traveler, had many influences. A few that he admired and studied are mentioned in Inscapes, and these are Redon, Moreau, Bocklin, Hodler, Rousseau, Ernest Fuchs, De Chirico, Chagall and Tchelitchew.

  3. Yes, feels very De Chirico to me. Fascinating!! Was not familiar with his work but of course recognized the artwork of the Santana album - guess I'm dating myself!!

  4. Your right Mark, I know the album cover and nothing else, until now. Nice work. It reminds me vaguely of Remedios Varo.

  5. Hi, quintessence and Scott! I do see both De Chirico and Remedios Varo in Klarwein's work. Aside from the spirit of his work, Klarwein was an incredible technician (if I can use that word), and I lose myself in his details. The Inscapes book belonged to my brother, and I visited his book so often that he eventually gave it to me. True love!