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

7 thoughts on “Mati Klarwein book covers”

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

  4. 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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