(Art) The Sci-fi Surrealism of Karel Thole

Carolus Adrianus Maria Thole (1914 – 2000) was a Dutch painter and illustrator born in Bussum, near Amsterdam, and educated at State Drawing School of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum.

His first works were for advertisement and publishing companies, but he also painted glasses and walls. In 1958, Thole moved to Milan, Italy, with his wife and four sons. He worked for Rizzoli publishing before passing to Mondadori in 1960, where he would stay for the next several decades.

After several covers for various magazines and books, he became renowned for his covers for the Italian science fiction periodical Urania, where his taste for surrealism and weird sense of humor were the perfect match to the magazine’s speculative content.

In the 1980s, Thole contracted an eye disease that limited his ability to work, and the covers to Urania were taken over by Vicente Segrelles and Oscar Chichoni. Karel produced his last cover for the magazine in 1998 and died two years later.

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