{ feuilleton }


• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


Mati Klarwein book covers


The World’s Desire (1972) by H. Rider Haggard & Andrew Lang. Painting: Astral Body Asleep (1968).

The use of Mati Klarwein’s paintings on album covers is well documented, the official Klarwein site has a small section devoted to some of the covers. Less well-known are these book covers which were evidently the product of a brief enthusiasm for Klarwein’s work in the Ballantine Books’ art department. As with many of the album covers, these are all pre-existing paintings which have been cropped for use as cover art.

The most surprising example is the cover for The Alien Condition with its detail from Annunciation, a painting better known for its appearance on Abraxas (1970), a very successful Santana album. Given how visible that cover art would have been in 1973 you have to suspect that the painting’s use as a book cover was a deliberate bid to attract a youthful readership. All these titles are works of science fiction or fantasy; I don’t recall having seen a Klarwein cover for any non-genre titles. If anyone knows of an example then please leave a comment. (Thanks to Jay for the tip!)


With a Finger in My I (1972) by David Gerrold. Painting: Blessing (1965).


The Alien Condition (1973) edited by Stephen Goldin. Painting: Annunciation (1961).


Two Views of Wonder (1973) edited by Thomas N. Scortia & Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Painting: Unknown.


Arrive at Easterwine: The Autobiography of a Ktistec Machine (1973) by RA Lafferty. Painting: Nativity (1961).

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The book covers archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
The art of Mati Klarwein, 1932–2002



Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {fantasy}, {painting}, {science fiction}.

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7 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by Phil Legard


    Beautiful images. I once owned a book by a guy called Dr Lawrence Blair, which had a Mati Klarwein picture on the cover. I unfortunately can’t recall the title, but it was broadly about meditation, I Ching and so on rather than sci-fi!

  2. #2 posted by John


    Hi Phil. Some of Mati’s paintings appeared in early issues of OMNI magazine which brought him an even wider audience. That was where I first saw them. There must be a few New Age books that used them in the 1980s, unless he wasn’t keen on that.

    There’s a book by Lawrence Blair entitled Rhythms of Vision: The Changing Patterns of Myth and Consciousness but none of the online copies have Mati cover art.

  3. #3 posted by Jonas


    A great you got here! Thanks a lot. By the way, the painting not identified is called Eve.

  4. #4 posted by John


    Thanks, Jonas, not all of his paintings are on the official site.

  5. #5 posted by Phil Legard


    Ah, here we go – the 1975 Croom Helm edition of “Rhythms of Vision”: http://www.leslivresthebooks.com/shop_image/product/18038.jpg


  6. #6 posted by John


    Wow, don’t think I’ve seen that painting before. Worth getting for the cover alone.

  7. #7 posted by Phil Legard


    According to the back flyleaf (which I did photograph, because the biography of Dr Blair was so amusing) the painting is called “Milk and Honey”.






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