Mark Tobey

Mark Tobey

Mark Tobey (1890 - 1976) was an American abstract expressionist painter. From 1906 to 1908 he attended the Art Institute in Chicago and in 1911 he moved to Greenwich Village in New York, where he worked for a fashion magazine "McCall" as an illustrator and at the same time began producing portraits. In 1917 he had his first solo exhibition at M. Knoedler & Co. in New York. In 1918 he converted to the World Bahá'í Faith, so much so that Eastern traditions began to decisively influence his painting. The artist became interested in European Cubism, collecting Indian fabrics and wood carvings, and approached Chinese painting. In 1925 he embarked on a 5-year journey, in which he became interested in Arabic and Persian writing. This journey had a strong influence in the realization of his paintings, in which he experimented with a new technique characterized by an interweaving of white lines, called "white writing", a style that involved covering the painting with layers of white, similar to Pollock’s technique. In 1940 and 1946 he made two solo exhibitions at the Club of Chicago and in 1944 he exhibited the paintings of the "White Scripture" at the Willard Gallery in New York. Tobey presented a solo exhibition at the Galerie Jeanne in Paris and soon American critics recognized him as one of the precursors of American Abstract Expressionism. In 1956 he won the Guggenheim International Prize. In the 1960s Tobey was awarded the Venice City Painting Prize at the Venice Biennale and later held a solo exhibition at the Museè des Arts Dècoratifs.