August 31, 2012

Mati Klarwein's Surrealism

The late Mati Klarwein is the artist behind a new species of surrealism. His initial art training surrounded him with the works of Salvador Dalí, later a friend of his, and the fantastic realist painter Ernst Fuchs. The psychedelic heyday of the 60s served as the backdrop for Klarwein's multifaceted paintings, which were considered a reaction to the movement.
Whilst the American era was a revolution in itself, Klarwein's works were radical in their own right. Inspired by a varied European upbringing and extensive travel, the artist was inspired most by non-Western deities and symbolism. Yet despite religious controversy, Klarwein was able to cement his status within the culture of the time; high-profile projects included a portrait of John F. Kennedy and album covers for Miles Davis.

The paintings that most intrigued me fall under the category Visionary, and it is a simplistic yet fitting label for some of Klarwein's greatest pieces.
Although many of the religious connotations are masked by my inexperience in such matters, the paradoxes are not lost.
Case in point, Klarwein's painting "Walking on Water" depicts a sunshine blond Marilyn Monroe character drowning in a cacophony of colors and florals.

I love to draw out fashion inspiration from the far corners of the art world. Mati Klarwein's paintings offer an abundance of ideas, and here I have created two outfit manifestations that stem from two different Visionary works.

Bavarian Angel (1970)
Mische technique (layers of oil and tempera on primed canvas)
Bavarian Angel
Issa silk jersey dress (available here), Jimmy Choo pumps (available here), Lulu Guinness lips clutch (available here), Delfina Delettrez earrings (sold as singles, available here).

Walking on Water (1961)
Mische technique (layers of oil and tempera on primed canvas)
Walking on Water
Rag & Bone sweater (available here), J. Crew floral brocade skirt (available here), Nicholas Kirkwood for Erdem tweed-print ankle boots (available here), Matthew Williamson embellished clutch (available here), Lulu Frost circle drop earrings (available here).

The leading designers of high fashion often discover inspiration within the realms of art history. On the other hand, those of us who take the most interest in getting dressed each morning will look to past eras to inform their styles. But we can still take a cue from the specifics that catch our eye: whether a painting or a building passed on the way to work, the most interesting ensembles will sprout from our everyday creativity.

Paintings belong to Mati Klarwein, from the artist website.
Visit to see more.

Please do leave a comment below with your thoughts.


  1. weird shit is weird... but i like em!
    the outfit sets are great, too!

  2. Wow this is great how you can get such inspiration from art, you are almost like a designer. I love how unique this post is, I have never seen anyone post anything like this.

  3. this is such an interesting post! i really love the patterns and the nature of the paintings ! really gorgeous brocade skirt as well!

    i'm now following :) please check out my blog if you want to :) i really appreciate thoughts on how to improve etc!!

    i'm still a newbie and am looking for bloggers to feature with + when i hit the 200 followers i'd like to do a giveaway!

  4. I too am a fan of visionary art. It's more thought provoking and often less literal. Also, I absolutely LOVE how you connected the wardrobe and matched it with the art pieces! The outfits are good visual representations of the pieces. Great job!

  5. it's always important to know the (artistic) context, the time and the place, so you can play with it and create something new!

  6. LOOOOVE how you tied them all together.


  7. Yes, finding inspiration in everyday life...that's what an artist does!