02 June, 2008

Mark Tobey, Famous Artist

Edge of August, 1953, Mark Tobey.
Casein on composition board, 48 x 28" MoMA

"I wouldn't wish fame on a rat!" Mark Tobey, after winning the most prestigious Venice Biennial City of Venice prize.

Mark Tobey (1890-1976) was an abstractionist whose interest was centered on form. That is profoundly confusing to me, since my own feelings about abstraction are that form would be almost the last element the artist wants.

Tobey is the guiding light of the Northwest School artists, and pre-saged Jackson Pollock.

Mark Tobey

A short synopsis of his achievements:

Tobey won international acclaim for his work towards the end of his life. He became the first American since James Abbot Whistler (1834-1903) to win the Painting Prize at the Venice Biennale, an award he won in 1959. In 1961, he had a retrospective showing at the Louvre in Paris, an extraordinary tribute to the work of a living artist. These landmark achievements were followed by a major exhibition at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1962 and, in 1974, another major show at the National Collection of Fine Arts in Washington, which is part of the Smithsonian Institution.

Art critics and historians in the United States have long been uncertain exactly how to categorize Tobey. Many gave Pollock most of the credit for creating the all-over style. Others have suggested that Tobey's internationalism and even his religion have so far kept him from being accepted in mainstream art circles.


Short Bio via the Peggy Guggenheim.

Long bio via Washington State's HistoryLink.

Committee Mark Tobey.

MoNA (Museum of Northwest Art)


harry bell said...

I too was surprised to see that Tobey valued form in his work. Not something that seemed obvious to me at all. But form in other abstractionists' work? Yes. Mondrian? Diebenkorn's "Ocean Park" series?

Casey Klahn said...

Thanks for those, Harry. I'll be looking them up.

Form is speaking to me in a still, small voice...

Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism