Pace Galleries

Mark Tobey

Installation view, "Mark Tobey," October 25, 2018 – January 12, 2019, Pace Gallery, New York.

Installation view, "Mark Tobey," October 25, 2018 – January 12, 2019, Pace Gallery, New York.

Installation view, "Mark Tobey," October 25, 2018 – January 12, 2019, Pace Gallery, New York.

Installation view, "Mark Tobey," October 25, 2018 – January 12, 2019, Pace Gallery, New York.

Installation view, "Mark Tobey," October 25, 2018 – January 12, 2019, Pace Gallery, New York.

Installation view, "Mark Tobey," October 25, 2018 – January 12, 2019, Pace Gallery, New York.

Installation view, "Mark Tobey," October 25, 2018 – January 12, 2019, Pace Gallery, New York.

Installation view, "Mark Tobey," October 25, 2018 – January 12, 2019, Pace Gallery, New York.

Installation view, "Mark Tobey," October 25, 2018 – January 12, 2019, Pace Gallery, New York.

Installation view, "Mark Tobey," October 25, 2018 – January 12, 2019, Pace Gallery, New York.

Mark Tobey Cosmic Tensions III, 1959. tempera on paper, 9-3/4" × 12-1/2" (24.8 cm × 31.8 cm).

Mark Tobey Cosmic Tensions III, 1959. tempera on paper, 9-3/4" × 12-1/2" (24.8 cm × 31.8 cm).
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About Mark Tobey

Mark Tobey (b. 1890, Centerville, Wisconsin; d. 1976, Basel, Switzerland) created a body of work central to defining midcentury American modernism. Painting all-over abstractions with a repetition of calligraphic marks, he was inspired by his ecumenical Bahai faith and by Western and Asian philosophical and aesthetic traditions. Frequently traveling throughout his career, Tobey resided primarily in New York from 1911 through 1922 before basing himself in Seattle through 1962, when he relocated to Basel. His first one-artist exhibition was held at M. Knoedler & Co, New York, in 1917, with his first museum exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum in 1934. Retrospectives of his work have been organized by the Seattle Art Museum (1942, 1959, 1970); California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco (1951); Institute of Contemporary Art, London (1955); Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany (1960); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1962); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1962); Cleveland Museum of Art (1963); Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas (1968); National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (1974); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (1997); and the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts (2017).

Mark Tobey's work is held in major public collections worldwide, including the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts; The Art Institute of Chicago; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Fondation Beyeler, Basel; Detroit Institute of Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Kunstmuseum Basel; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Seattle Art Museum; Tate, London; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

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Press Release

  • Mark Tobey

    New York—Pace Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition ofabstractworks by the American artist Mark Tobey (1890 – 1976), the first show dedicated to the artistin New York in over twenty years. Bringing togetherapproximately 40paintings and works on paper from private collections as well as major international museums, such as theFondationBeyeler,HirshhornMuseum and Sculpture Garden,The Metropolitan Museum of Art,and the Whitney Museum of American Art,among others, the exhibition spansthreedecadesof Tobey’sevolving approach to abstraction. Theexhibitionwill be on view at 32 East 57th Street from October 25, 2018 through January 12, 2019, with an opening reception held on Wednesday, October 24, from 6 – 8 p.m. Pace will publish a full-color catalogue for the exhibition, which will include a new essay on Tobey by art critic Robert C. Morgan.The exhibition will also include thefilmMark Tobey(1952)directedRobert Gardnerand written by Gardner and Tobey. Filmed when the artist lived in Seattle,the filmalsofeaturespiano and flutecompositions by Tobey andpresents an experimental portraitofhimas both performer andsubject.

    While a contemporary of the Abstract Expressionists, Tobeydevelopedauniqueand oftencalligraphicstyle, grounded inaplace of mindfulnessratherthanthe physicalaction of hiscontemporaries.A spiritual and artistic turning point for Tobey occurred in 1918 when he was introduced to the ecumenical Bahai Faith, whichpromotes universal consciousness.Workinglargely in water-based media, such as tempera andgouache,onmodestly-scaledcanvasesand paper,Tobeybegan a painting byemptying his mind of extraneous thoughts in order to focus exclusively onthe meticulous placement ofabstractgesturesandshapes.Within histablet-size paintings,suffused with masses of linesandoverlaid with fragmentaryforms,Tobey captureduniversesofpossibilitiesand energy.In discussing his practice, Tobey said: “I believe that painting should come through the avenues of meditation rather than the canals of action. Only then can one have a conversation with a painting. If I find no content, there’s no communication.”

    Tobey’s all-over compositions, symbol-like marks, andcalligraphic renderings emerged from acombination ofEastern and Western visual histories and points of inspiration, from Chinese scroll painting to European cubism. The artistled a largely nomadic life, spending early time in New York and Seattle and travelingtoHong Kong, Shanghai, Kyoto, and across Europe. Removed from any particular geographic or stylistic “school”, Tobey maintained a relentless focus on working on a small scale and discovered highly personalized ways to integrate the intricate rhythms and ideographic gestures he found in Eastern calligraphy withhis practice of observing theworld in rapt attention, and in doing so developed his all-over abstractions.As demonstrated in thethreedecadesof work presented in the exhibition, these broad influencesall contributedto the distinct visual languagethat Tobeyevolved throughout his career.

    One of the best known and internationally respected American artists of the 1950s and 60s, Tobey’s contributions to abstraction and midcentury modernism have only recently begun to be fully recognized. In 2017, the Addison Gallery of American Art organized the first retrospective of Tobey in the U.S. in 40 years, which was also presented at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice during the 2017 Venice Biennale. Pace’s exhibition, the first comprehensive show of the artist’s work in New York in overtwo decades, continues to shine a light on Tobey’s groundbreaking style and lasting impact on international modern and contemporary art.

    Mark Tobey(b. 1890, Centerville, Wisconsin; d. 1976, Basel, Switzerland)created a body of work central to defining midcentury American modernism. Frequently traveling throughout his career, Tobey resided primarily in New York from 1911 through 1922 before basing himself in Seattle through 1962, when he relocated to Basel. His first one-artist exhibition was held at M.Knoedler& Co, New York, in 1917, with his first museum exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum in 1934. Retrospectives of his work have been organized by the Seattle Art Museum (1942, 1959, 1970); California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco (1951); Institute of Contemporary Art, London (1955);KunsthalleMannheim, Germany (1960); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1962); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1962); Cleveland Museum of Art (1963); Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas (1968); National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (1974); Museo Nacional Centro deArteReina Sofia, Madrid (1997); and the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts (2017).

    In 1958, Tobey became the first American artist to win the Painting Prize at the Venice Biennale since James Abbott McNeill Whistler in 1895. He was the first non-French painter to be given a monographic exhibition at theMuséedes ArtDécoratifs, Palais du Louvre, Paris, held in 1961—the same year he won first prize at the Pittsburgh International Exhibition of Contemporary Painting and Sculpture at the Carnegie Institute. The French government awarded Tobey theCommandeurdel’Ordredes Arts et desLettresmedallion in 1968 and he received the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Award in 1971.

    Mark Tobey’s work is held in major public collections worldwide, including the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts; The Art Institute of Chicago; Centre Pompidou, Paris;FondationBeyeler, Basel; Detroit Institute of Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York;KunstmuseumBasel;ModernaMuseet, Stockholm; Museo Nacional Centro deArteReina Sofía, Madrid; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; MuseumFolkwang, Essen, Germany; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Seattle Art Museum; Tate, London; WadsworthAtheneum, Hartford, Connecticut; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

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Catalogues

MARK TOBEY

Robert C. Morgan

2018. Pace Gallery. Paperback

82 pages: 54 color illustrations; 10 ½ inches x 9 inches

9781948701112

$30.00

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