Set designer and artist Joseph Carl was born Karl Josefovics into a Jewish family in Vienna, Austria-Hungary (now Austria) on 11 February 1906; his brother Fritz Josefovics (1908-1976) became the caricaturist known as Frederick Joss. After completing his studies at the Vienna Academy of Art under architect and designer Oskar Strnad, Karl established himself as a set designer and began a successful career at the Vienna Volksoper opera house, also designing for the theatre and political cabarets. In 1938, following the annexation of Austria (Anschluss), he moved to England (following his brother who had left in 1933) to escape Nazi persecution, Anglicising his name to Joseph Carl (known as 'Charlie') and finding work as a set designer. In 1939 he participated in the First Group Exhibition of German, Austrian, Czechoslovakian Painters and Sculptors, co-organised by the Free German League of Culture (FGLC) and the Austrian Centre (AC), of which he was a member, held at the Wertheim Gallery. In 1944 he produced stage designs for Johann Strauss II's operetta 'A Night in Venice' for the Cambridge Theatre in London, and the following year he participated in the AC’s Exhibition of Paintings, Watercolours, Drawings & Sculptures at Foyle’s Gallery. He also produced the décor for performances held at the Austrian exile theatre, based at the AC, Das Laterndl. As a stage designer he worked for the Drury Lane Theatre, London Palladium, Palace Theatre, the Hippodrome, the London Ballet, Stratford-upon-Avon and Glyndebourne Opera.
In 1952 he visited Israel for the first time and prepared several sets for plays; the following year he decided to settle permanently in Israel. By the early 1960s he was working in both England and Holland, designing for the Netherland Dance Groupe, but returned to Israel in 1963, where he became known as Joe Karl, and where he continued to design sets for theatre and cinema. He also drew street scenes, synagogues, congregations at prayer, and Jewish cemeteries in ink and watercolour. Joseph Carl died in Israel in 1993. His work is represented in UK collections including the Ben Uri Collection and the V&A.