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Mark Tobey

Color aquatint and embossing on Auvergne à la main (Richard de bas) cream laid paper, 1972. 335x283 mm; 13 1/4x11 1/4 inches, full margins. Signed, dated and numbered 59/96 in pencil, lower margin.

Mark George Tobey (December 11, 1890 – April 24, 1976) was an American painter. His densely structured compositions, inspired by Asian calligraphy, resemble Abstract expressionism,[1][2] although the motives for his compositions differ philosophically from most Abstract Expressionist painters. His work was widely recognized throughout the United States and Europe. Along with Guy Anderson, Kenneth Callahan, Morris Graves, and William Cumming, Tobey was a founder of the Northwest School. Senior in age and experience, he had a strong influence on the others; friend and mentor, Tobey shared their interest in philosophy and Eastern religions. Similar to others of the Northwest School, Tobey was mostly self-taught after early studies at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1921, Tobey founded the art department at The Cornish School in Seattle, Washington.[3] Tobey was an incessant traveler, visiting Mexico, Europe, Palestine, Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, China and Japan. After converting to the Baháʼí Faith, it became an important part of his life. Whether Tobey's all-over paintings, marked by oriental brushwork and calligraphic strokes, were an influencer on Jackson Pollock's drip paintings has been left unanswered. Born in Centerville, Wisconsin, Tobey lived in the Seattle, Washington area for most of his life before moving to Basel, Switzerland in the early 1960s with his companion, Pehr Hallsten; Tobey died there in 1976.

At least five of his works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Northwest Art. Tobey's work can also be found in most major museums in the U.S. and internationally, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Tate Gallery in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. There have been at least four posthumous individual exhibitions of Tobey's work: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., USA, 1984; Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany, 1989; Galerie Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland, 1990; and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain, November 11, 1997 – January 12, 1998 where the exhibition brought together about 130 works from some 56 different collections, covering the years from 1924 to 1975. Two of Tobey's paintings are in Guggenheim collections. A number of his figurative and abstract works are held by the Dartington Hall Trust.[29] Four of Tobey's signed lithographs hang in the reception hall in the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, the supreme governing institution of the Baháʼí Faith, as his work was inspired by Oriental influences and his involvement in the Baháʼí Faith.

Mark Tobey (1890-1976 Washington) ''Untitled'' (Black and Red) 1966 Tempera Monotype on Paper 4.5''x6'' Image. Signed and dated l.l. Gallery framed 10.5''x11''. Excellent condition.

Mark Tobey

1890 - 1976

Seraphin Gallery, Philadelphia, PA


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