Mark Tobey

(Centerville, 1890 – Basel, 1976)


Mark Tobey was an American painter born on December 11, 1890, in Centerville, Washington. He was one of the pioneering abstract artists to emerge in the United States and made significant contributions to the 20th-century art scene.

Tobey spent much of his youth in Seattle, where he studied art and developed an interest in the artistic traditions of Asia, particularly Chinese calligraphy and Zen philosophy. These influences would become fundamental to his future artistic career.In the 1920s, Tobey moved to New York City, where he came into contact with the artistic avant-garde of the time, including artists such as Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock. It was during this period that he began to develop his distinctive style, characterized by intricate, interwoven lines reminiscent of calligraphy and Zen marks. Throughout his career, Tobey developed an original painting technique called "white writing," in which he created a web of white marks against a dark background, creating a sense of movement and light. This technique became a key element of his abstract works and earned him international recognition. In addition to his artistic career, Tobey was also a passionate advocate for peace and intercultural dialogue. He traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia, meeting with artists, intellectuals, and spiritual leaders. These experiences further enriched his artistic vision and fueled his commitment to understanding among cultures.

Tobey's works have been exhibited worldwide and can be found in numerous public and private collections. He has been recognized as a pioneer of abstract art and an artist who uniquely and innovatively combined Eastern and Western influences. Mark Tobey passed away on April 24, 1976, in Basel, Switzerland, leaving behind a lasting legacy in modern art and a memory of an artist who sought to convey his spiritual quest and love for beauty through his painting.



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