The Swiss-Swedish artist and illustrator Hans Arnold has passed away. Known in particular for his illustrations of books — like the 1973 re-issue of Astrid Lindgren's Allrakäraste syster (Most Beloved Sister), Gunnel Linde's Jag är en varulvsunge (I am a Werewolf Cub), and Bland tomtar och troll ("Among Gnomes and Trolls", a popular folklore and fairy tale annual) — animated films like Matulda och megasen, and the Gothic horror sleeve of ABBA's Greatest Hits, Arnold's unique blend of erotic and mildly horrific themes ensured him a status as "cult" artist.
Born in Sursee, Switzerland, Arnold's first artistic endeavours included crafting caricatures of particularly draconian school teachers, which he'd peddle among his class mates. Having completed his artistic education at the Hochschule Luzern (the Lucerne School of Art and Design, Switerland's oldest arts school), Arnold spent a couple of years in Paris, before moving to Sweden in 1947. His intricate style, rich in detail, often referenced the text his illustrations complemented in such a way that they practically became puzzles in themselves.
Arnold's weekly visual contribution to the magazine VeckoRevyn ("Weekly Review"), which appeaered regularly between 1954 and 1979 under the heading "veckans chock" ("the weekly shock"), made him a household name in Sweden. Despite more recently fading from public view, his dense fusion of surrealism and underground art inspired a broad range of artists in a variety of fields. Examples of his work, as well as images from one of Arnold's last retrospectives, can be seen here.