Abdul Mati Klarwein
the most famous unknown artist
Behind the world-famous painting 'Annunciation', used by Santana
for the cover of their album Abraxas, hides the incredibly rich, but little known, universe of Mati Klarwein.
Although Mati produced some of the most iconic images of the 60's and 70's, his name, and much of his work, remains unknown to many.
Mati was a prolific artist whose range encompassed still life paintings, a great many
portraits, and a wide variety of landscapes, both real and imagined,
as well as the surreal and visionary art that he is most often associated with.
Portrait by Bettina Rheims
A true citizen of the world, Mati Klarwein did not have strong roots in any one country.
Born of Jewish parentage in pre-war Germany, he escaped with his parents, to Palestine, when just two years old,
where he later adopted the name Abdul as a gesture of empathy with his Arab neighbours.
Growing up as a Westerner in what was then Palestine (later Israel),
Mati was always something of an outsider and never knew the comfort of an unchallenged belief system.
Perhaps no surprise then that in his work he likes to challenge our assumptions on everything from religion and sexuality to the perceiver and the perceived.
"Abdul Mati Klarwein is a visionary poet of the sublime. He is an artist of amazing technical virtuosity.
He is also an enigma that an ever widening audience is trying to solve."
Ronald A. Kuchta
Director, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York
Living, working and travelling at various times in Paris, New York, Spain,
Italy, Greece, Turkey, India, Morocco, Niger, Haiti, Jamaica, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Bahamas, Kenya, Senegal, Gambia, Cuba and Guatemala,
Mati drew widely on these travels in his art, distilling this rich experience into an even richer visual imagery.
With artistic influences as diverse as his travels,
Mati Klarwein's work combines a remarkable vision of the world about us, with a technical mastery of his craft that enables him to vividly communicate that vision.
From his early work, which already exhibited this technical mastery,
through the psychedelic surrealism of the sixties and seventies, to the later landscapes of his beloved Mallorca,
much of Mati's work displays an enhanced perception of beauty that most of us experience only occasionally in our lives.
Mati left us a wonderful legacy of uplifting vision. Through this site we hope to be able to share some of that vision with a wider audience.